The Prince William County School Board heard recommendations last night on the divisive issue of realigning high school attendance boundaries and devised a way to replace a leaky high school roof without help from the County Board of Supervisors, which balked at the project last month.
Superintendent Edward L. Kelly's recommendations for boundary changes, necessitated by overcrowding in some high schools, would have children from the neighborhoods of Woodbridge that are east of I-95 remaining at Woodbridge High.
Children from neighborhoods south and west of Lake Ridge would attend Gar-Field High near Potomac Mills Mall. Some of those neighborhoods now send their children to Woodbridge High, which is in Lake Ridge.
The prospect of changing attendance boundaries for the first time in a decade in the growing school system has been divisive, and indications were last night that divisions will continue in the community and on the School Board.
But there was wide agreement that Woodbridge High, which figures so greatly in the boundary dispute, needs a new roof. The $1.2 million project was included in an $8.4 million request for state bonds that the county supervisors recently turned down.
Last night, the board voted unanimously to transfer funds from some maintenance projects to replace the leaky roof -- but not until school is out for the year. Officials said work cannot begin until then because large parts of the existing roof must be removed.
On the attendance boundaries, board member Ilona Salmon argued strenuously with administrators last night that the recommended changes would split the neighborhoods in the Occoquan District she represents and would not sufficiently relieve the crowding at Woodbridge High.
She introduced an alternative proposal to convert Woodbridge Middle School, which lies east of I-95, to a high school for communities east of the highway. She declared her plan "a return to community schools."
The option recommended by Kelly would move 85 students from Osbourn Park and 76 from Woodbridge to Gar-Field.
Daryl Lance of Rollingwood Village, which would be moved from the Woodbridge to the Gar-Field district, urged the board to "put politics aside and vote for common sense. The recommended option cuts the Lake Ridge Community in half."
The School Board is scheduled to vote on the boundary changes Feb. 17. Changes will take effect in September and will affect ninth graders only. Each year a new class will be affected.