Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports on possible school redistricting in Loudoun County.
You could call it a severe case of growing pains.
The Loudoun County Public Schools are growing at a rapid pace. The school system adds 2,500 students each year, and the influx of students has some of the county’s 82 public schools fuller than others.
“We’ve opened 37 new schools since 2000, we’ve more than doubled our student population since then,” said Loudoun County spokesperson Wayde Byard.
Byard said seven of the county’s elementary schools are overcrowded, and two new elementary schools set to open next fall will not solve the problem.
“Inevitably, someone has to move,” Byard said.
The district wants to redraw the boundaries between which students go where, therefore balancing attendance in the county’s schools.
That plan, though, has parents pushing back with petitions, signs and social media campaigns.
Ashburn mother Melissa O’Rourke is trying to keep her neighborhood from being split up.
“We’ve invested a lot in these schools, so it’s hard to leave,” said O'Rourke, whose child goes to Mill Run Elementary in Ashburn.
Under some of the proposed plans, some students would stay at their current schools, while their neighbors across the street would be switched to a different school.
Several proposed plans have students moving for a second time in recent memory. About 135 students at Sanders Corner could be sent to Cedar Lane, where they attended school until four years ago.
Possibilities like these have parents worried about the friendships their children have forged with their classmates.
“We’ve been making friends in Sanders Corner,” said Alex Yarbrough, the mother of a second grade student. “We like it there, and we’d like to stay there.”
Parents will have the chance to sound off at a public meeting on Dec. 3, before the school board votes on which way to re-zone the district on Dec. 11.