Prince William school officials have drawn up a proposal for redrawing boundaries for a set of new schools opening next year.
An annual, if contentious, process aimed at relieving crowding and bringing new schools into line with population growth, the boundary changes affect about 3,000 students at two elementary schools, five middle schools and three high schools. Two other middle schools have been slated for minor changes in boundaries to improve their feeder areas.
Last year, changes in 28 elementary school boundaries resulted in a lawsuit against the School Board from a group of Marumsco Woods parents, who asserted that the board acted arbitrarily and capriciously. Last week a Circuit Court judge overruled a School Board request that the suit be dismissed, clearing the way for a trial later.
This year's proposed changes are expected to be more controversial because more students are involved, half of whom are high schoolers with a greater bond to their schools than the younger children affected by last year's action.
The School Board, which was to receive the proposal last night, has scheduled public hearings on the changes for Nov. 27 and 29 at Gar-Field and Osbourn Park high schools, respectively. The hearings are at 7:30 p.m. The board is set to vote on the recommendations Dec. 5.
In the past, parents have said the boundary change process did not allow enough time for debate.
Officials say that while they understand that some changes are unpopular, they have sought the most efficient division of pupils and are open to public opinion in cases where boundaries could go either way.
"It's difficult for a child to change; it's difficult for parents to change," said Mary Weybright, who supervises planning for the district. "We have to look at it from a more rational point of view and less emotional point of view. That's our job."
The major change for elementary schools is the addition of a new school on Tallowwood Drive, which will relieve crowding at Henderson Elementary School. The enrollment at Henderson is being halved from 848 students to 422 students.
For middle schools, the major change is the opening of a Dale City school that will take about 400 students each from Woodbridge and Saunders middle schools. Also recommended is a change in the elementary to middle school feeder pattern that would affect Marsteller and Stonewall middle schools.
At the high school level, the new Spriggs Road school will take about 1,200 students from Osbourn Park and 600 from Potomac high schools.
Boundary changes proposed for elementary schools:
Tallowwood Drive Elementary School. Starting at the western end of Lake Montclair, the boundary follows Powells Creek to Spriggs Road, proceeds north on the west side of Spriggs Road to Minnieville Road (houses on both sides of Spriggs Road between Powells Creek and Minnieville are included in the Tallowwood attendance area). The boundary proceeds east along the center line of Minnieville Road, continuing in a clockwise direction to a point just past Silverdale Drive, when it moves to the north side of the road (encompassing residences on both sides of Minnieville Road) to the 7-Eleven store at Estate Drive. At that point, the boundary proceeds southeast along the existing boundary with Neabsco Elementary School to a point north of the end of Knickerbocker Drive. The boundary line proceeds south to Cardinal Drive west of the new Highbridge Estates subdivision following the center line of Cardinal Drive northwest to Waterway Drive, southwest along the center line of Waterway Drive to Spring Branch Boulevard, west and southwest along the center line of Spring Branch Boulevard for 1,000 feet to the drainage divide and south along the drainage divide to Lake Montclair. The boundary line proceeds west through the lake to its starting point.
Henderson: Current boundary minus northwest Montclair area and slice along Minnieville Road and Cardinal Drive going to Tallowwood, including communities of Ranchette Estates, Cardinal Station and Forest Hills.
Pattie: Current boundary minus area of Spriggs Road between Powells Creek and Minnieville Road going to Tallowwood.
Dale City Middle School: The recommended attendance area for this new school will include areas currently assigned to Saunders Middle School north of Dale Boulevard and east of a line extending along the westernmost boundary of King Elementary north to Hoadly Road. It includes the current Saunders attendance area south of Dale Boulevard and to the east of Andrew Leitch Park, east and north of Neabsco Creek to Old Delaney Road. It also includes the area currently assigned to Woodbridge Middle south of but not including Davis Ford Road from the County Administrative Complex to and including Hoffman Drive and north of that part of the Glendale community that lies to the east of Dale Boulevard. The balance of the current Woodbridge attendance area south and west of the center line of Dale Boulevard would also be reassigned to the new school. Communities included in the new middle school attendance area are Hillendale, Kerrydale, Lindendale, Mapledale, Nottingdale, Queensdale, that part of Glendale west of the Dale Boulevard center line, Bren Forest, Heathfield and Westwind.
Saunders: Current boundary minus areas to Dale City and gaining areas along and south of Hoadly Road now going to Parkside, as well as area west of and including South Lakes of Montclair now going to Graham Park.
Lake Ridge: The current boundary minus the area off Springwoods Drive north of the drainage divide separating Salem Town, including Triad and Troika courts and Ridgeleigh.
Woodbridge: Current boundary plus the areas reassigned from Lake Ridge and minus the area going to Dale City.
Parkside: Current boundary minus area going to Saunders.
Graham Park: Current boundary minus area going to Saunders.
Marsteller and Stonewall: The area between Sunnygate Drive and Godwin Drive, now in Loch Lomond Elementary area, moves from Stonewall to Marsteller to improve feeder pattern.
Spriggs Road High School: The recommended attendance area for the Spriggs Road high school is that part of the current Osbourn Park attendance area south of and including Hoadly Road and east of the center line of Dumfries Road south of Hoadly Road. Communities that are north of Hoadly Road but have access only to Hoadly Road are included (Crespo Lane and Bren Forest). Additionally, the Montclair residential planned community, the Hide-A-Way community across Dumfries Road from Montclair and the community on the south side of Dumfries Road across from Waterway Drive, are recommended for reassignment from the Potomac High School attendance area to the new Spriggs Road school. All major planned communities not yet started within the Spriggs Road school attendance area will remain in the Osbourn Park attendance area. Those planned developments include Ashland, the Hall property on the east side of Spriggs Road the Coffey property on the south side of Minnieville Road, the Orangedale and Queensdale communities of Dale City (except for those dwelling units already occupied or started), Ridgefield Village and the Prince William Town Center.
Osbourn Park: Current boundary minus area going to Spriggs Road plus planned communities not yet started within Spriggs district.
Potomac: Current boundary minus region going to Spriggs.