A proposal before the Fairfax County School Board to spend $182 million on construction in the next five years prompted only one major complaint at a public hearing last night -- over the suggested site of a West Springfield elementary school.
The construction plan, scheduled for a School Board vote Jan. 23, would accommodate growing enrollment countywide triggered by new housing and a baby boomlet just reaching the lower grades. The school staff says that additional factors producing a need for buildings are the board's reduction of class sizes and addition of programs that require extra classroom space.
The proposal calls for building seven new elementary schools, one intermediate school and three special education centers, constructing 13 school additions, renovating 14 schools and adding gymnasiums and music rooms at 11 elementary schools. The proposal would require a bond referendum in November.
The plan, added to currently funded projects, would mean that the county would spend $269 million on new or renovated schools in fiscal years 1987 through 1991. Average annual spending would be twice the spending of recent years.
Some School Board members have questioned why the school staff did not foresee the growth when the county was closing schools several years ago, and county PTA President Kevin Bell said last night that his executive board has similar questions. In some cases, proposed new buildings are in the same neighborhoods as schools that have shut their doors.
Last night's hearing produced only 17 speakers, and School Board Vice Chairman Joy Korologos, who chaired the meeting, said it was the least controversial hearing in her four years on the board. "I guess everybody is pleased with the plan," she said.
Six speakers, four representing PTAs or homeowner groups, criticized a proposed elementary school site in West Springfield, saying it would be in the wrong place to accommodate growth and could be unsafe because the school would be near the planned Springfield bypass.
No one contended that the proposed new buildings are not needed, and several speakers urged more or speedier construction.