Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dulles South Students - Your New High School is in Leesburg

Controversy and decision-making continue to swirl regarding the approval of the Lenah sites for future schools, dealing with the rapidly-arriving overflow of student population to hit the area.

Be sure to attend tomorrow night's community meeting about this with Loudoun County BOS/Dulles District Supervisor Stevens Miller:

7:00 P.M. – 9:30 P.M.
42149 Greenstone Drive
Aldie, VA 20105

The options are particularly bleak, if the Lenah sites remain unapproved, and no comparable options come to fruition in the very near term. Here's a response from Loudoun County School Board Dulles Representative Robert Dupree, to a Dulles South constituent and concerned parent - note the option of Dulles South students attending High School in Leesburg:

"Dear XXX:

We are planning to do boundaries this spring regardless of the Board of Supervisors' decision on Lenah.

If they approve Lenah, then the boundary process will be to determine which children/neighborhoods will go to the Lenah schools and which will stay at Mercer/Freedom.

If they do not approve it, then we will consider options regarding which neighborhoods will be sent to Stone Hill Middle School on a more long-term basis. We had purposefully avoided using Stone Hill to relieve Dulles South when the school was opened and have only reluctantly been using it on a temporary "bandaid" overflow basis this year. If Lenah is approved, we will continue the bandaid/overflow for one more year, but if not then we will consider new boundaries on a more long-term basis that would take likely take effect next fall and remain so until a site can be secured and approved, which could take several years.

For high school, if Lenah is rejected we really won't have any seats to spare in any of the three Ashburn schools. Briar Woods will hit capacity in two years, right after Freedom does, so there won't be any relief coming there. And Stone Bridge is already over capacity and Broad Run doesn't have much room. So when we do boundaries, looking ahead to 2010, at that point, the only available seats to relieve Freedom would be in Leesburg, where we expect to free up some room at Heritage and Loudoun County with the opening in 2010 of Tuscarora High School on the north side of Leesburg.

These are not good options. We don't want to have to send neighborhoods from south of Route 50 up to Ashburn for middle school or to Leesburg for high school. If we have to do this, I hope you will weigh in before the School Board as far as your preferences. But I hope we can secure approval of our Lenah application, which fully conforms with the county's smart growth policies, and don't have to resort to such alternatives.

As far as the Planning Commission decision, the findings given for denial were not, in our view, valid. In fact, one of the grounds for denial would also preclude other possible sites that opponents are putting forth as alternatives. Our staff presented a 15-point response to the Board of Supervisors last night rebutting the Planning Commission's stated rationale. I will see if I can get an electronic copy to forward to you.

I hope this answered your questions.

Robert DuPree
Chairman & Dulles District Representative
Loudoun County School Board"


Blogger Cate said...

This is an example of our elected school board representative Mr. Dupree attempting to scare South Riding residents into supporting an extremely bad school site by threatening to change boundaries in the future and bus their children. Why is he not trying to find a way to provide them with a middle school in their own community. The middle school that they currently use is in a different zip code and they have 4 elementary schools 1 high school and forgot to build a middle school.

I did some research and it turns out the children would be better off going to any of the other High Schools Mr. Dupree mentioned. Particularly Stone Bridge or Briar Woods both in Ashburn and most probable location for any overflow students. They are the best and second best high schools in Loudoun County according to the Great Schools web site . Freedom High School is the second worst of 12 (only Park View was ranked lower) and also had the lowest SOL EOC Algebra II scores with only 81%. I would prefer to have my child bussed to the one of these other schools then have her go to Freedom. Please do come to the meeting and listen to the facts about the proposed Greenvest High School in Lenah where it is unwanted and un needed. And then help to get Loudoun County Schools to buy property for a Middle School near the students in South Riding. And locate a better western site (ie. Roads, Water, Sewer, Neighborhood with sidewalks, bike paths, consistent with the Plan) near families who actually want and will support the new High School to be a GREAT SCHOOL instead of another Legal battle brought on by poor planning and no community buy in.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Elise said...

"where it is unwanted and unneeded" says the previous comment - perhaps by this commenter, but not by thousands of other parents and students in the Dulles South area....

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cate, the only legal battles being set up are:

1. The arbitrary and capricious denial of a land use application that meets planning guidlelines and mitigates its impacts.

If a private entity were being afforded the same treatment this application has received, particularly by the Dulles Commissioner, it would already be on its way to court.

2. A class action suit over a modern-day separate but equal issue.

These are Loudoun County Public Schools, for every and any one.

Our current land use regulations do not stipulate small schools with tiny classroom ratios for those on larger lots, and busing or trailers for suburban children.

Schools are an appropriate use in the transition area--which is not RURAL, any more than the suburban area is URBAN.

Barbara Munsey

12:08 AM  

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