Community forum addresses future school?s boundaries

Students at crowded Pattie Elementary School near Dumfries will see fewer of their classmates next year as many of them get sent to the new elementary school in the Ashland community off Va. 234, under a proposal reviewed Tuesday night at a community meeting.

About 30 parents attended the forum to discuss the redrawing of school boundaries in the Monclair-Dumfries area to include the new school.

The proposed plan takes students currently attending Montclair, Pattie and Coles elementary schools and sends them to the new school. All elementary students living in the Ashland community will be sent to the new school.

The new school, scheduled to open in September on Bowmans Folly Drive off Va. 234 (Dumfries Road), is under construction to relieve overcrowding and to accommodate future growth in the area along Dumfries, Spriggs and Minnieville roads.

The Ashland community started developing about five years ago, and since then students living in that community have been sent to Pattie Elementary, said Marcy Birming-ham, a parent and member of the committee that helped draw the proposed boundaries.

According to current figures, Pattie Elementary is about 200 students over capacity.

Birmingham did not believe the proposed new boundaries would be controversial, citing that the area needs the school.

Using enrollment projections for 2002-2003, the Ashland school will be holding 68 percent of its student capacity under the proposed boundaries. Several parents questioned why the new resource was going to be underutilized.

“We’ve done our best to project students … and we have not been right a lot,” said David Beavers, a planning analyst with Prince William schools.

Beavers noted that two new elementary schools that opened in September, Cedar Point Elementary School in Braemar and Swans Creek Elementary School near Dumfries, will be overcrowded next year.

Tuesday night’s meeting was the first of two community meetings to solicit feedback on proposed school boundaries for Ashland. A second meeting will be scheduled in February.

The boundaries committee and planners will present the proposed boundaries to the School Board in March. The School Board will vote on new boundaries on March 26.

The Ashland school is the first of 10 planned elementary schools to be built in the next decade.

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