Elementary school students who live in the Nokesville area would go to Marsteller Middle School and children in the northern Linton Hall area would go to a new middle school on Hoadley Road under a boundary proposal presented to the Prince William County School Board last week.
The School Board will hold a public hearing and make a final decision on the boundaries of the new middle school during their June 23 meeting. The new middle school, referred to as "mid-county" because it has not been named yet, will open in fall 2000.
The boundary proposal includes other changes from some established feeder patterns. Students at Bennett Elementary School, who would normally attend Marsteller Middle, would attend Parkside Middle School. Parkside, formerly an elementary and middle school, is undergoing an extensive, multimillion-dollar renovation and will reopen as a middle school by fall 2000.
Students at Marshall and Coles elementary schools, who are normally split among several middle schools, would attend the mid-county middle school.
The proposal would relieve crowding while keeping most schools operating slightly under capacity so there is room to grow, said planning analyst David Beavers, who worked with the citizens committee as they hammered out changes for three months. "We really feel we're improving the feeder patterns," Beavers said.
However, the committee faced a unique set of problems when trying to put the boundary proposal together. Brentsville Middle/High School is phasing out its middle school over two years. Under the phaseout plan, some Nokesville parents have the option of keeping their children at Brentsville Middle until 2002.
The committee was forced to estimate how many students would stay and how many would leave, and according to committee member Virginia Antos, if its estimates are off, some schools still will be crowded.
For instance, if everyone in the entire Nokesville area decided to send their children to Marsteller Middle, that school would be at 108 percent of capacity in fall 2000 and at 112 percent in fall 2001.
"But how are we supposed to make that determination?" said Antos, who lives in Nokesville. "There just isn't enough information available to us."
Ironically, the Brentsville phaseout plan was offered as a way to appease parents in the Nokesville area who didn't want to lose Brentsville Middle School at all. The shift from Marsteller was considered a way to keep all the Nokesville students together.
School Board members say they have resigned themselves to making some groups unhappy, no matter what is approved. When the boundary proposal was presented May 26, Lyle G. Beefelt (Brentsville) said he already had heard from a group of Nokesville residents who want their children to go to the closer mid-county school instead of to Marsteller, about 12 miles away.
"That means that not everyone in the district agrees," Beefelt said. "Surprise."