The following was among actions taken at the Sept. 11 meeting of the Loudoun County School Board. For more information, call 771-6410.
SMALL SCHOOLS COMMITTEE -- Because of disagreement among board members over whether the county should continue to operate small schools, the School Board created a committee to study the issue for three months.
By Dec. 11, the committee of parents, teachers and principals is expected to recommend an enrollment standard for small schools, determine if those schools are serving their students well and consider whether it's economical for the county to operate them.
The controversy about small schools involves money and tradition. Some officials in the densely populated eastern end of the county see little reason to spend extra money to operate western schools for as few as 100 students. Some western officials argue that a school is often the heart of its community and that a child should not have to be bused 10 or 15 miles just because his or her parents live west of Leesburg.
A study of small schools was last done in 1981. At that time, small schools were classified as those with fewer than 125 students, the standard still used today. The 1981 study found that the school system spends an average of $1,100 more per student at small schools than it does at larger ones. Part of the committee's charge is to compare that situation with the present.
The county now has six schools with fewer than 125 students: Aldie, Hillsboro, Banneker, Middleburg, Waterford and Lucketts elementary schools.
The School Board decided to create a new small schools study committee after a bitter session last spring in which William A. White (Broad Run) moved to close Aldie and Hillsboro elementaries in order to save $400,000 in this year's school budget. The vote failed 7 to 1, but several board members said then that a new committee should be formed to study small schools.