Moving Beyond Boundaries

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1



Meeting
Minutes
April 14
,
2010



Moving Beyond Boundaries





President
Lori Stevens
call
ed

the m
eeting
to

order at 7:3
3

pm.

Ms
.

Stevens then
requested officer
reports.


VP Communications Karen Cholakis

asked delegates to
think of the educational and student
-
related
practices, concerns, and issues they would like to learn more about for consideration as next year’s
program topics.


VP
s

Programs Susan Boyd

informed

the group that
the Volunteer Loudoun six
-
week Volunteer
Man
agement Training Series registration deadline is



Secretary

Kristen Thatche
r.


Maura Walsh
-
Copeland, substituting for Ms.
Thatcher
,

stated

that

last
month’s minutes

and handouts

are
posted on the LEAP website
.


Treasurer Ed Myers

reported
the LEAP ac
count balance is $
276.72
.


Ms. Stevens

informed the delegates that nominations for the 2010
-
2011 LEAP Board are being
accepted.
She, too, encouraged delegates to submit ideas for program topics and explained that this
year the voting procedure will chan
ge. Instead of tallying paper
-
based rankings, as in the past, this year
the LEAP Community will vote online using the Survey Monkey tool.


Ms. Stevens

introduced the speakers for the program:




Dr. Sam Adamo, LCPS Department of Planning and Legislative
Services



Thomas Reed, At
-
Large Representative, Loudoun County School Board



Paul Vickers, Principal, Mill Run Elementary School



2

Dr. Sam Adamo, LCPS Department of Planning and Legislative Services


Dr.
Adamo distributed copies of the LCPS Boundary policy,

Section 2
-
32: School Attendance Zones:
Policy and Process. Dr. Adamo told delegates that LCPS has cracked the 60,000 student mark, with
60,156 students for the 2009
-
2010 school year. Geographically, the enrollment amounts for eastern
Loudoun County hav
e been more static. The majority of the increase in students comes from the
already approved development in Loudoun County, which include 14,779 Single Family Detached
Units, 10,450 Single Family Attached Units, and 12,307 Multi
-
Family Units. These units

combined
equate to 21,387 future new students from the approved development units.


To accommodate the future new students, Loudoun County will need to build 12 new elementary
schools, 3 new middle schools and 3 new high schools. Dr. Adamo reviewed the c
urrent
School Size
Guidelines
:





Elementary:

875 Student

capacity requiring

o

20 usable acres and

o

90,000+
Square Foot
Bldg. (1
-
story

model
); 102,000+ S
quare
F
oot
. Bldg. (2
-
story

model
)



Middle:
1350 Student

capacity requiring

o

35 usable acres and

o

169,000
S
q
F
t

Bldg. (1
-
story); 178,000 S
q
F
t

Bldg. (2
-
story)



High:

1800 Student

capacity requiring

o

75 usable acres and

o

280,000 S
q
F
t

Bldg. (2
-
story)



Dr. Adamo indicated that a
ll acreage requirements
indicate
useable acreage, exclusive of such physical
restrictions such as steep slopes, floodplain, wetlands and Waters of the U.S.

There are currently three
ways that Loudoun County obtains school sites:

Proffered
;
Purchased
; and
Condemnation
.




The c
riteria upon which a site is evaluated

include:


o

Location
: C
omprehensive Plan Policies
;
Zoning
;

Proximity to Need (attendance area)
;
Pedestrian/Trail Access (ES: .8 M & MS/HS 1.0 M)
;
Surrounding Land Uses


o

Physical Characteristics
:
Size (20, 35 and 75 acres)
;
Availability of temporary and permanent
utilities (
water and sewer, electric, gas, phone, cable)
;
Access (Public or Private Roads,
Improvements Needed)
;
Topography (Moderately steep and steep slopes)
;
Geologic features
(Karst topography, hydric soils, etc.)
;
Wetlands/Floodplain
;
Tree Coverage
;
Archaeologic
al
Sites
; Rare and Endangered Species;
Stormwater
;

Ldn 65 airport noise contour


o


Property Restrictions
:
Proffer Limitations
;
Covenants/ Easements
;
HOA Requirements


o

Adaptability of School Program:

Shift in Grades Served
;
Building Design




Investigations

performed during study period include
:
Phase 1 Environmental Study
;
Geotechnical
Study
;
Geophysical Study
;

Archeological Study
;

Rare and Endangered Species Investigation
;
Traffic Study
;
Wetlands Study and Delineation
;
Tree Survey
;
On
-
site Sewage Disposa
l:
Soils/Drainfield Analysis
;
On
-
site Water Supply: Hydrogeological Evaluation
.




The permitting process may be
LCPS Initiated or Developer Initiated Applications


3




Other
Requirements

include:
Zoning (ZMAP, ZCPA, ZMOD)
;
Proffers
;
Special Exception
;
Commis
sion Permit
; and
Site Plan
;
Floodplain Alterations
;
Wetlands Permits
;
VDOT Permits
;

Grading and Clearing Permits
;
Health Dept. Permits (drainfield/communal systems)



Dr. Adamo stated the permitting process alone may cost $400K to $1 million. Afterwards,

Dr. Adamo
said jokingly, the Planning Department applies their “Secret Plan” and showed a blackboard cartoon.


In reality, the Planning Department applies the School Board’s Attendance Zone Change Criteria.
When changing school attendance zones, the
School Board may consider any factors but recognizes
that it may not be reasonably practicable to reconcile each and every factor. Any attendance zone
adopted by the School Board should be based on the following factors to the greatest extent possible
:




I
nitial Considerations

o

Efficiency

o

Proximity

o

Community

o

Demographics




Further Considerations

o

Accessibility

o

Stability

o

Cluster Alignment


Details pertaining to these criteria can be found on the LCPS Website under School Board, Policies &
Regulations,
Chapter 2, School Board Bylaws, Section 2
-
32.


The School Board process has changed over the years. In the past, the administration

made a proposal
for a boundary change and parents were notified after finalized by the School Board. Now, the
Planning Dep
artment hosts community information meetings, discusses the criteria listed above, and
request parent input. The online system can also assign geo
-
codes to every student, allowing parents to
submit boundary scenarios directly.


The boundary change process

can become political, with neighbor or neighborhood against
neighborhood. Sometimes there are no “right” or “good: decisions. The school site guidelines state
that schools should be put near towns, but not all towns want schools nearby, and it’s not alw
ays
possible to find land to meet the plan/policy guidelines. The School Board welcomes meetings with
community members to discuss the boundaries, and ultimately need to make the best decision possible.



Thomas Reed, At
-
Large Representative, Loudoun Co
unty School Board



The three areas Mr. Reed planned to discuss included:




New schools



Attendance Zone Change Process



Participation Pointers




4



New Schools

o

The s
tudent growth
is approximately
3,000 additional per/year
, mainly due to
Immigration

and
Birthrate


We’re #1!

o

The number of p
roffered/owned sites
have been
dwindling

o


The
Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) Budget
is the 6 year financial plan, of which the 1
st

year
is “reality.” The other 5 years are forecasts for planning purposes

o

Land Acqu
isition Process with Board of Supervisors
: There is a task force that meet to discuss
how to streamline the land acquisition process.

o


Land Banking



One method of obtaining land for schools is to purchase land in advance of the
timeframe when a school is

needed. This is often needed in Western Loudoun because there are
few proffer site offerings due to the majority of land sites being development
-
capable “by
right.”

o


Growth Areas
: There are a number of areas of the “fertile crescent” requiring new schoo
ls due
to the increase birth rate. Those areas are
New Ashburn area cluster
;
Dulles South
;
Brambleton
;
and
Leesburg




Attendance Zone Process

o

Reasons for attendance zone changes




Relieve crowding with new schools




Maintain or improve operating efficiency




Maximize instructional effectiveness




Mitigate demographic imbalances




Reallocate program resources




Reduce operating costs




Attendance Zone Policy (#2
-
32)


o

Initial Considerations:




Efficiency: Effective use of new and existing facilities



Proximity: Keeping students close to their schools



Community: Encouraging the link between schools and communities



Demographics: Ensure balance of ELL and FRL

o


Further Considerations:



Accessibility: Walk
-
zones, traffic flow



Stability: Promote long
-
ter
m attendance zone stability



Cluster Alignment: Keeping students together

o

The School Board may consider
any factors
in making an attendance zone change but it should
be based on the above factors to the greatest extent possible.




Participation Pointers


o

Ho
w best to participate:



Check out the LCPS Planning website



be sure you know the calendar due dates and
process to provide input



Organize/attend community meetings with neighbors, HOAs, and School Board members



Attend and Speak at
Public Hearings
(coordinate colors

“T” Shirt colors
)



Watch/Attend Planning Meetings



Talk
or E
-
mail Planning Staff



Talk or E
-
mail School Board Representative
s

for your area



Seek a win
-
win solution for all communities

(not only your neighborhood)


5

o

Not so good ideas:



Template E
-
mails



they are not well received and do not provide your elected sch
ool board
member with informative points to support your position/scenario



Don’t disparage other communities



Don’t have t
oo many speakers at Public Hearing
. Plan speakers ahead of time to reinforce
different points rather than have each speaker give the e
xact same message.



Paul Vickers, Principal, Mill Run Elementary School


Mill Run opened with 300 students. The attendance has gone as high at 1140 students. The enrollment
today is 832 students, well within the school capacity of 800
-
1000.

The Mill Run school zone was
originally “huge” encompassing many neighborhoods. There have been numerous school zone splits
over the years, each of which has spawned several new schools.


Mr. Vickers made sure to let all past parents know that, “Your ch
ild may not be at Mill Run, but he/she
will be as well educated at their new school.” Sometimes the transition to a new school is harder for
the parents than for the students. It can be heart wrenching at times, but it’s best to not pit neighbors
against

neighbors. A PTA or PTO should remain neutral (i.e., don’t pick which “hoods” should stay or
go). No one wants to diminish the “pain” that is felt by students and parents, but Principals try to ease
the process as much as possible.


Keeping neighbors an
d a sense of community helps many families get motivated to build a new
atmosphere. The key is to keep the process as open and informative as much as possible


to avoid
situations where parents and families are surprised by the final boundary change deci
sion.



Q
uestion and Answer
S
ession
:


Q
:
This is an often
-
time contentious topic, balancing the desire to mitigate demographic imbalances
and also have the 1 mile radius. Economic disadvantage is a key. Have magnet schools
been
considered? Have any ot
her No Child Left Behind (NCLB) options been considered to mitigate the
demographic imbalance?

A
:
Reed: East of Route 28 there have been no new schools. There are two categories of demographic
imbalance: 1) English language learners (ELL) and 2) Free
and reduced lunch (FRL). Regarding
Sterling, the accommodation has been to put more resources in schools to support the demographics
rather than to remove students and change boundaries.

A: Adamo: For areas like Sterling, the Administration has also low
ered the teacher/student ratio.
There is always a desire for neighborhood school, which is the “ying/yang” reason against changing
boundaries to modify demographic imbalances.


Q
:
How does the budget impact the boundary process?

A
:
The School Board has
not redone boundaries due to budget factors. To date, boundaries have only
been changed for the opening of new schools.







6

Q
:
Regarding the Potomac Falls Cluster


when do you plan to change the boundaries when the
population declines to the point of l
osing teachers due to declining enrollment?

A
:
Reed: The September 30
th

enrollment numbers are used to determine required boundary changes,
including redistributing. The School Board does not look to redistribute base only on the
enrollment of an elemen
tary school, but also most consider the middle/high school cluster impacts
of redistricting.

A: Vicker: Sometimes a split feed from elementary schools resolves the matter as schools/clusters
mature.


Q
:
Is the boundary change process ever used to the
Administration’s advantage or
political purposes to
“encourage” a proffer from a developer?

A
:
Reed: That would violate the rules of “proffer,” and the BOS would not do that


Q
:
Can you explain the difference between “proffer” and “by right?”

A
:
Adamo:

When subdivisions are approved, a developer will develop a package that defines the
trigger points for construction of each improvement, such as schools, trails, sidewalks, lights, etc.)
On the flip side, with “by right” development you don’t have to do

any proffers. Any
improvements in the area become the county residents obligation to pay.


Q
:
Can you provide an update for the Farmwell Elementary property. Will it be an elementary school?,
middle school?, high school? Will you be selling it?

A
:
Re
ed: The property belongs to the County. It has been considered for several scenarios. We
should know within the next 6 months which will be the final outcome.


Q
:
How do you apply weights to the site selection considerations?

A
:
Reed: Each site decis
ion process is customized. Sometimes the proximity matters more than the
demographics. It depends on the current mix and parent input that is received.


Q
:
What is the communication/information flow between sending and receiving schools involved in a
boundary change adjustment?

A
:
Vicker: Elementary to Middle school:
For the
5
th

and 8th graders

transition, t
he students are
invited to visit the school, councilors bring locks to practice opening combinations and discuss
course selections. Middle schoo
l principals can send letters to the 5
th

grade students.


It is different with rezoning. Students start getting letters after the winter break with information
regarding boundaries, PTA/PTO, mascot choices, connect ed options, etc.


Q
:
What capacity l
evel triggers a boundary change for under enrolled elementary schools?

A
:
Adamo: We first need to identify the problem areas, which may cascade to other issues. An
example would be if students were moved in from other areas it may result in longer bus ri
des, so
parents may object.

A
: Reed: The trigger is the September 30
th

enrollment number. Other uses for under enrolled
elementary school space would be to move a special education class there.


Q
:
Overcrowding in schools is becoming a large issue.

A
:
Adamo: We have a crisis looming in the Dulles areas. There are 10 thousand students coming, and
we don’t have funding approved to build the schools to relieve the overcrowding. An example is
the number of students in the Freedom High School cluster.

There are currently 300 seniors, but
there are 900 kindergarteners, which will fill the schools quickly. We need staff, the Board of
Supervisors and parents to work together to get these schools built. We’re still playing catch up.


7

Q
:
Have creative
solutions like magnet schools been considered?

A
:
Reed: We’re looking for magnet schools within a school. Other creative solutions would be to
consider year round schools for elementary students. This impacts the operating budget. School
construction
will be an issue for elections next year.

Dr. Adamo is close on his projections every
year. We also have to factor the AAA bond rating for the County with the trade off being school
construction.


Some Supervisors believe that new student generation is o
nly from new housing starts. However,
the birth rate is so high in Loudoun County that it factors as much or more than new houses.

A: Adamo: The Administration is not adverse to magnet schools like the Academy of Science (AOS),
but remember AOS gets a c
ash infusion from Howard Hughes Medical Institute to underwrite the
program. We have some space in the east, but how do we open a magnet school there to the whole
county and actually get students there to fill 200 seats? A magnet school was considered fo
r
Tuscorora High School opening this fall, but it was scrapped because we needed the seats for
students.


Q
:
What is the tipping point for using busing to alleviate crowding issues?

A
:
Adamo: Transportation is already an issue for some students


there
are some students who ride the
bus for 90 minutes one way in the west). The benefit of busing is in the eye of the beholder. If the
seats are there, we will find them. There are all kinds of possibilities such as trailers, busing, year
round schools.


Q
:
What about educational telecommuting?

A
:
Reed: That would be an instructional point to review. There are some high school students who
already use this to fill in specific elective courses.




LCPS Superintendent

Dr.
Hatrick:


The Loudoun County
School Board adopted a $710.3 million budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011
(governing the 2010
-
2011 school year) at its Tuesday, April 13th, meeting.

The board adopted its
budget by an 8
-
1 vote with Dr. Joseph Guzman (Sugarland Run District) voting no.


The F
Y 2011 Adopted Budget is $22.3 million or 3% less than this year's adopted budget. The FY 2011
budget also contains $50.3 million less in local funding, a decrease of 10 percent.

The average cost per
pupil under the newly adopted budget is estimated to be

$10,826, down from $11,997 this year.


No Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) employee will receive a raise under the adopted budget.

In response to concerns from the public, the School Board restored the following items to the budget:



Freshman Sports:
The $307,000 cost of restoring this item will be offset by reduced summer
painting at LCPS facilities.



Assistant Athletic Directors at Tuscarora and Woodgrove High Schools and High School Deans:
The $337,750 cost of these items was offset by a reduction t
o the SAT preparatory program.



Middle School Summer School:

The $205,000 cost of this program will be made up by yet
-
to
-
be
-
determined cuts in the LCPS Department

of Instruction.


LCPS Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick III restored the $132,000 necessary to

fund the junior varsity
lacrosse program as part of a budget reconciliation package

he offered to the School Board
. The
reductions contained in this package served as the base motion for
the
School Board deliberations.


8


Other items included in the adopted budget are:



Central Office Reductions:
$7.7 million including

35 central office positions were reduced.



Two Furlough Days for All LCPS Staff:
This will result in a savings of $4,458,000. The dates for
the furlough days

will be Novemer 22
nd

and 23
rd



the Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week.



Shared Principals for Aldie and Middleburg Elementary Schools and Hillsboro and Lincoln
Elementary Schools:
This will create a savings of $227,000. (The principals of Lincoln E
lementary
and Middleburg Elementary have

retired.)



The

LEAP
meeting adjourned at
9
:
39

pm.


Next Meeting: Wednesday,
May
1
2
, 2010, 7:30pm


Annual Town Hall Meeting and

Film for Thought


“Making Schools Work, with Hedrick Smith
-
KIPP Model”



Submitted
by

Maura Walsh
-
Copeland for
Kristen Thatcher