Prince William County parents will have a chance tonight to voice their opinions on how the county should redraw its school boundaries, a move school officials say is necessary now that county voters have approved $44.89 million in new school construction.
Superintendent Edward L. Kelly met Tuesday night with parents at Osborn Park High School near Manassas, and will meet at 7:30 tonight with parents at Woodbridge High School to solicit comment on boundary changes that are expected to affect most of the county's schools and 39,000 students.
The changes are necessary to "take into account the present situation, plus buildings to be built in the future," Kelly said.
Next fall, a new middle school is to open just west of Dale City. It will take the place of Saunders Middle School in the Dumfries District, which is to be transferred to the county government for use as office space.
The $44.89 million in bonds approved last week is earmarked for the construction of a seventh high school, a middle school, two elementary schools and an addition to an elementary school, all scheduled to open between 1989 and 1991.
The last major secondary school redistricting in the county occurred just after Potomac High School was completed in 1980. Since then there have been three boundary changes for new elementary schools, the most recent in 1984.
"Boundaries have become outdated over the years as housing development has occurred," Kelly said.
As school enrollments have soared, particularly in the eastern sections of the county, children have been bused to less crowded schools, sometimes almost an hour from their homes.
"Redistricting is never easy," Kelly said in an interview. "We want to look at this carefully, and make changes once that will last a long time."
Staff recommendations for boundaries will be presented to the School Board in December or January, according to Mary Weybright, supervisor of program and planning services.