Citizen’s Letter to PWCS: CIP Should Reflect Enrollment

| November 20, 2012 | 0 Comments | Education, Opinions

Originally Published by Kim Simons as “Open Letter to PWC About CIP and Enrollment” on PWC Education Reform Blog

Tuesday evening the PWC School Board will participate in a work session on student enrollment and new school construction, expansion and renovation. The public is allowed to attend the meetings. The meeting will not be televised, and, as far as I can tell, there is no plan for minutes to be made available to the public.

Below are the issues I’d like to see addressed and questions I’d like to have answered.

(1) 30 room addition at Potomac High School

A 30-room addition is currently being constructed at Potomac High School and is expected to open in the fall of 2013. This addition will add 630 more seats to Potomac, bringing its capacity to 2,285 students from 1,655. In the fall of 2013, Potomac is projected to have enrollment of 1,678 students. The opening of the new addition will leave Potomac High School approximately 600 students below capacity.

Potomac High School’s current boundaries are surrounded by Forest Park, Freedom and Gar-Field, with parts of Hylton close by. Enrollment at those schools in the fall of 2013 is projected to be as follows:

  • Forest Park  – 338 students over capacity
  • Garfield – 284 students under capacity
  • Freedom – 169 students under capacity
  • Hylton – 339 students over capacity

From which schools will the additional students needed to fill Potomac to capacity come?

(2) 12th High School.

The 12th high school is currently scheduled to open in the fall of 2016 (2016 – 2017 school year). The school will be located near the Kelly Building, kind of at the intersection of the current boundaries for Hylton, Osbourn Park and Brentsville high schools.

Assuming no students from Hylton are moved to Potomac when the addition at Potomac opens, those three schools are projected to be 1,248 students over capacity in the fall of 2016.

A new school is 2,053 students. Assuming the 12th high school only takes the excess enrollment from Hylton, Brentsville and O.P., and, assuming no students are transferred from Hylton to Potomac when the addition opens at Potomac in the fall of 2013, the 12th high school will be 805 students below capacity when it opens.

From which high schools will the additional 800 students needed to fill the school come? Remember that’s assuming no students are moved from Hylton to Potomac when the addition opens at Potomac. If students are moved from Hylton to Potomac, more than 800 students will be needed to fill the 12th high school to capacity.

(3) Patriot High School

Based on current estimates, with no transfers allowed, Patriot High School is projected to have enrollment as follows through the Fall of 2016:

  • Fall of 2012 – 225 students overcapacity.
  • Fall of 2013 – 631 students overcapacity.
  • Fall of 2014 – 823 students overcapacity.
  • Fall of 2015 – 870 students overcapacity.
  • Fall of 2016 – 914 students overcapacity.

Patriot High School’s current boundaries are bordered by Brentsville, Stonewall and Battlefield high schools. Brentsville and Stonewall are projected to be slightly below capacity through 2016, but Battlefield High School is projected to be 588 students overcapacity in the fall of the 2016.

A new high school isn’t currently planned in the Patriot / Battlefield area until fall of 2019, by which time Patriot and Battlefield high schools will be more than 1700 students overcapacity. (School Board Members,) what are your plans for relieving overcrowding at Patriot and Battlefield High Schools between now and 2019?

(4) Flipping the open dates for the 12th and 13th high schools

Based on in area enrollment, in 2016 the schools closest to the site of the 12th high school will be at or slightly below capacity while schools further west will be significantly above capacity. Looking at the in area enrollment projections and transfer rates, it appears that the school division is justifying building the 12th high school based on transfers, and even then the excess enrollment caused by transfers won’t be sufficient to fill the 12th high school. That means the school division will have to draw some very creative boundaries for the 12th high school.

We’ve all heard the rumors of promises made by Board of County Supervisors Members about the 12th high school, including the statement that it will be payback for all the new construction that’s gone on in the western end of the county lately, or that it will keep children in certain communities from having to attend schools they consider undesirable. We’ve all heard talk of a pool at the 12th high school; despite the increasingly tight school division budget, which has forced some schools to ration paper  and no cost estimates for building, maintaining and insuring a pool at a school.

What we haven’t heard is justification based on enrollment for building a high school mid-county in 2016.

So, I’d like to school division to justify building the 12th high school in 2016 mid-county, with a pool. I’d also like to know what the consequences would be if the school division were to push the 12th high school’s open date back a few years and pull the 13th high school’s open date forward a few years – so the 13th high school would open in 2016 or 2017 and the 12th high school would open in 2018 or 2019.

© 2012, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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