Citizens Divided on Boundary Plan 2.1, 2.1a for PWCS 12th High School

| May 27, 2014 | 0 Comments | Education

Plan 2.1a includes Victory Lakes and New Bristow Village. It balances enrollments at Brentsville District High School by moving some Manassas neighborhoods from BDHS into Osbourn Park High School.

Many residents of the Victory Lakes and New Bristow Village Communities in Bristow spoke out at the Prince William School Board Public Hearing regarding the 12th high school boundaries.

Although the majority of Victory Lake residents said they supported the move from Stonewall Jackson High School (SJHS) attendance area into Brentsville District High School (BDHS) attendance area and the adoption of boundary plan 2.1a, there were also a number of residents supporting the current boundaries.

According their HOA survey, 90 percent Victory Lake residents who responded voted that they would prefer their community be rezoned for BDHS than to remain at SJHS.

Additionally, PWCS data shows that 50 percent of Victory Lakes high school students transfer out of Stonewall Jackson by attending a specialty program. That transfer number is especially high in comparison to neighboring communities where transfer rate is approximately 10 percent.

Speakers also pointed out that Victory Lakes residents do not have the option of sending their children to other neighborhood schools as both Patriot and Battlefield High School since they are both over capacity.

Residents said that Victory Lake students are currently the only Marsteller students who move onto SJHS while all of their friends and peers progress to Patriot. However, if Victory Lakes were zoned for Brentsville, they would be moving on with their friends from New Bristow Village according to Boundary Plan 2.1 and 2.1a.

However, this argument hinges on students from New Bristow Village being included in the new boundary plans. Currently, more than 98 percent of New Bristow Village residents said they would prefer to stay at Patriot, according to their HOA representative, who was referring to a community poll.

Still, parents and students alike advocated for their ideal attendance area.

“I will be in 7th grade when the new school opens and I want to stay with middle school friends when I go to high school. I do not want to start all over again,” said one Victory Elementary student.

Parents also said that the Victory Lake community members identify with the Bristow/Gainesville/Nokesville communities along the Linton Hall corridor, saying it is where they “dine, shop and worship.”

Boundary Plan 2.1 moves Victory Lakes in Bristow from Stonewall Jackson High School attendance area to Brentsville District High School attendance area, but leaves BDHS 20% over capacity.

Another woman said they know the 13th high school will open in 2019, but they cannot wait that long to go to school in their community.

“We waited for Patriot and that didn’t work out. We can’t wait again and possibly be left out again,” she said.

One gentleman complained that while similar properties have risen in value in the Patriot attendance area, their boundaries have “negatively affected our property values.”

One Victory Lakes resident said their neighbors often move to nearby communities in order to send their students to Patriot, Battlefield or Brentsville.

However there were defenders of the Stonewall Jackson attendance area as well. One woman advocated for more demographic equality between schools.

“You are going to hear many different opinions from my community tonight. I am here to let you know that there are people who want to stay at Stonewall Jackson,” she said.

She pointed out that the boundary guidelines favor students remaining at SJHS.

“Look at projected enrollment, capacities, transportation distances, future school construction plans and the demographic balance of school population. I don’t feel that the plan that moving Victory Lakes to Brentsville meets any of that criteria,” she said.

If the school division really wanted to reduce enrollment numbers at overcrowded schools, they would be relieving Patriot or Battlefield, she said.

“You have two schools that are extremely over capacity. Both Patriot and Battlefield should be moving into both Brentsville and Stonewall,” she said.

She said that to move Victory Lakes out of the SJHS boundaries would negatively affect minority students as western PWCS “would become even more disparate.”

She said that children with involved parents will likely do fine at any school, so she is advocating for what is best for all Prince William students.

One gentleman agreed with her, saying “As an academic, as a critical thinker, I have not seen any non-bias argument along a compelling line that warrants the adoption of these plans. [Boundary plan 2.1 and 2.1a is] not in the long term interest of Victory Lakes, our surrounding communities, or the school division as a whole.”

He added that with the Prince William School Board recognizing the Brown v. BOE decision, “we should be taking a measured approach for all of our students in Prince William County.”

Others defended SJHS simply saying it is a great school with much to offer from its IB program to its standard academics. One Marsteller student said he was looking forward to attending SJHS, and that even his shy brother met plenty of new friends there.

Other areas also had complaints about the new 12th high school boundaries. Members of the Lake Terrapin community near Forest Park High School reiterated that they want to remain within the Forest Park community, saying that school is so close by that can see the lights at the stadium lights from their houses.

One woman from the Osbourn Park High School’s (OP) district in Manassas had concerns regarding the demographic inequality of the 12th high school redistricting plans. Specifically, that there would be a lack of diversity at the new high school, while the Limited English Proficiency population would grow at Osbourn Park.

While the 12th high school would not be the least diverse school in Prince William, it would be less diverse than surrounding schools including Osbourn Park, Hylton and Woodbridge Senior High School. Some parents asked why boundaries could not be more evenly balanced among schools.

School Board members did not respond to the comments made during the Public Hearing. The vote on the 12th high school boundaries is scheduled for June 4.

© 2014, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

Facebook Comments
Print Friendly

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Education

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

banner ad