Of all the school boundary changes recently proposed by Prince William County school officials, none has incited more intense citizen anger than a proposal to move 130 Marumsco Acres children from crowded Rippon Middle School just south of their neighborhood to Fred Lynn Middle School across U.S. Rte. 1.
Nevertheless, school administrators planned to stand by their recommendation at last night's meeting of the School Board, which is scheduled to vote Feb. 17 on the middle school proposal and changes in boundaries for three of the county's high schools.
According to parents from "The Acres" who attended a public hearing on the boundary changes last week, Rippon Middle School was built as a community school serving children east of Rte. 1. It has become increasingly crowded as the fast-growing areas of Lake Ridge and Westridge, west of Rte. 1, have been included in its boundaries.
"We didn't cause the overcrowding at Rippon, but we are being asked to move," said one Marumsco Hills mother who attended the hearing. "Why not move some of the Lake Ridge kids?"
"Most of the buses going to Rippon come from areas around Lake "We didn't cause the overcrowding at Rippon, but we are being asked to move." -- a Marumsco Acres parent
Ridge," parent Kathy Green said after the hearing. "Yet they want us to move out to relieve overcrowding."
Parents expressed concern that the move, which is scheduled to take place in September, will be across the board, affecting all grade levels at once. In contrast, the high school boundary changes will be phased in, initially affecting only students entering ninth grade.
"You just wonder how it will affect the children," said Kenneth Green, a Marumsco Acres parent.
At the hearing Green presented a petition signed by 400 residents opposed to moving the children to Fred Lynn Middle School.
As an alternative, the petitioners proposed that the School Board leave the middle school boundaries intact for one more year until Lake Ridge Middle School opens in the fall of 1989. Their second suggestion was to take the students from Lake Ridge and send them to Fred Lynn or Woodbridge Middle School.
School Board Chairman Gerard P. Cleary, who represents the Woodbridge District, said he had received many calls on the proposed switch from Rippon and that he supports leaving the boundaries intact one more year.
Cleary said he thinks the number of middle school children in the area may start to diminish.
"If we could just hold the line for a year or two," he said, "there's no more building going on there. It's a very stable area."
Green said the boundary dispute has brought the Marumsco Acres neighborhood together. "We don't have a civic association like lots of other neighborhoods at this hearing," he said. "People don't get together unless something like this happens."