The schools to be impacted by a Fairfax City schools boundary study were named last week by School Board members. Eleven schools, including five high schools, one secondary school and five middle schools, will be among those in the scope of the boundary study. The School Board is exploring options to relieve crowding at the city’s Fairfax High School and Lanier Middle School, which could mean removing county-residing students from those schools’ attendance areas. The board is hoping to implement changes by Fall 2014.
“We’re only now talking about the scope of the study and the reason we’re looking at Fairfax High School is because by 2017 it’s going to be 600 kids over capacity,” said School Board member Patty Reed (Providence District) during a School Board business meeting Jan. 24. “Sixty-five percent of the students that attend Fairfax High School are county residents.” The remaining 35 percent are city residents.
Three community outreach meetings are scheduled for February, including one at Oakton High School Feb. 19, one at Lanier Middle School on Feb. 20, and one at Woodson High School on Feb. 26. Each meeting begins at 7 p.m. in that school’s cafeteria and is expected to last two hours.
School Board members emphasized that only county-residing students would be considered for reassignment. In past boundary adjustment votes, School Board members included generous grandfathering, allowing upper-grade level students to remain in their current schools.
“Sometimes people hear Fairfax High School and they don’t understand… that Fairfax High School is a Fairfax City school and Fairfax City residents bonded and paid for the renovation that expanded the size of the school well beyond anything they thought they would need,” said School Board member Elizabeth Schultz (Springfield District).
Because of this renovation, Schultz said, city school officials contracted with county school officials an agreement to allow the county to run the schools in return for city residents paying a tuition (through taxes) to Fairfax County Public Schools.
“It’s their school… and we have filled it up well past the capacity,” Schultz said. “It’s not their 600 students, it’s our 600 students.”
Other schools in the study, with the exception of Lanier Middle, are county schools. All schools are run by FCPS.
“As we move forward with this boundary study, I do hope we look for solutions that are long term,” School Board member Megan McLaughlin (Braddock District). “I really do want to make sure we don’t move students unnecessarily and then have to move them again.”