The Stafford County School Board approved attendance zone changes last week that will affect about 730 students in the southern part of the county.

The changes, which will take effect next fall, will shift students in several areas. Rocky Run Elementary, which is being built in the Stafford Lakes subdivision, will absorb 378 students from Hartwood Elementary and 186 from Falmouth Elementary. About 164 students will move from Grafton Village to Falmouth to prevent future crowding at Grafton Village.

All three schools are at or near their student capacity. The changes would put them under capacity for at least the next three years, school officials said.

The board approved the changes on a 5-0 vote; members Barbara Cole (Griffis-Widewater) and Tom G. Kane (Rockhill) were absent.

The vote came after several parents complained about the proposed changes, with many saying they chose their homes based on school zoning.

Board member Thomas F. Villacres (Hartwood) said that parents' criticism was especially intense concerning the changes. But all things considered, he said, the board did the best it could.

"There was a great deal of resistance to what we did," Villacres said. "But when you balance it against all the criteria, I think it was the best plan."