Fairfax County School Superintendent William J. Burkholder recommended last night converting Groveton High School to an intermediate school over two years, starting next fall, to solve the problem of declining enrollments in the extreme eastern part of the county.
Under the plan, which the County School Board will approve or disapprove March 14, Groveton's 1,200 students would be divided between nearby Fort Hunt and Mount Vernon high schools.
The proposal, made after hundreds of concerned parents and students spoke at a series of emotional public hearings held in the last week by the School Board, is much the same as one Burkholder tentatively recommended last December.
Burkholder suggested for the first time last night that, as an alternative, Fort Hunt High be converted into an intermediate school, and that that school's 1,269 students be absorbed into Groveton and Mount Vernon highs.
That course would conform to a plan suggested by a citizens' task force that studied the enrollment problem last fall before issuing its report.
Groveton students and parents were encouraged by Burkholder's recommendation because the alternative would keep their school open. "It's far from over," said Groveton Principal Paul G. Douglas, "because I feel somewhat relieved that at least we have an alternative there."
Paul Brinitzer, head of a group seeking to keep Fort Hunt High open, said he will "continue to do whatever is necessary to support the superintendent's recommendation."
Burkholder told an audience of about 300 at last night's meeting that the proposed changes in the Groveton and Fort Hunt communities could save the School Board more than $2 million yearly.
Burkholder also revised his recommendation for boundary changes to relieve overcrowding at Robinson Secondary School, south of Fairfax City. In December, he suggested seventh and eighth graders living west of Rte. 123 attend Lanier Intermediate, while ninth graders living there would go to Fairfax High.
Last night, he said he prefers assigning next year's seventh and eighth graders living in Robinson's attendance area west of Rte. 123 and north of the Southern Railroad, including the town of Clifton, to Lanier. Ninth graders living there would go to Fairfax High.
Additionally, next year's seventh and eighth graders from the Fairfax Station subdivision would go to Frost Intermediate, and next year's ninth graders living in Fairfax Station would go to W.T. Woodson High.
Students living west of Rte. 123 and south of the railroad, except for Fairfax Station, would remain at Robinson, as would those living in the Fairfax Club Estates subdivision.
These changes would begin this fall, and continue through the 1987-88 school year until a new high school is built in the Braddock Park area of western Fairfax County.