In late September, the School Board voted to amend the January FY2020-24 CIP to include a McLean HS and Langley HS boundary study. Before any action can be undertaken on school boundaries, it must be included in an approved CIP (Capital Improvement Program). Now that consideration of this boundary change is formally in the CIP, the FCPS (Fairfax County Public Schools) facilities team will begin to study and determine recommendations for boundary adjustments. It is anticipated that a community meeting will be held in December with specific date(s) to be announced soon.
The current situation includes an overcrowded McLean HS (114% - SY2018-19) that is expected to grow to 126% of capacity by SY2023-24, and under capacity at Langley HS (82% - SY2018-19) that is forecasted to drop to 79% of capacity by SY2023-24. Langley’s recent renovation and expansion has resulted in approximately 500 additional slots for students. McLean now has over 2300 students with a capacity of 1900. In order to accommodate the problem, McLean’s capacity has been augmented with 18 temporary trailers. FCPS has been projecting a growing McLean High School capacity problem for several years. The FY2020-24 CIP amendment is the first official action the school board has taken to develop a long-term solution.
A parallel effort includes updating FCPS Boundary policy from 8130 revision 7 to revision 8. This revision is in two primary areas:
1. Eliminating the Superintendent’s (currently, Dr. Brabrand) emergency powers to change boundaries.
Dr. Brabrand has argued that the emergency powers allow boundary change with limited involvement of the full School Board and the public, and that boundary changes within the exclusive purview of the School Board ensures transparency as the process is open to the public and requires public input.
2. Simplifying and clarifying the factors that guide boundary change decision making.
The School Board intends to review and simplify the numerous factors included in the current Boundary Policy (8130 revision 7). These factors include: proximity to residences, projected school capacity, walking distances, busing times and costs, walking and busing safety, natural and man-made geographic features, impact on neighborhoods, school feed alignments, contiguous school attendance areas, long range capital plans, socioeconomic characteristics of school populations, the distribution of programs and resources, the overall impact on families and students, and comparative long-term costs. In accordance with Board approval, Dr. Brabrand is hiring a consultant to help with this effort. The consulting engagement includes developing a plan for public input.
All MCA members are encouraged to become familiar with the ongoing efforts associated with the McLean/Langley Boundary Study and with the effort to update the FCPS Boundary Policy. MCA’s previous Resolution on School Boundaries can be found in the Education and Youth (E&Y) folder at: https://mca-va.clubexpress.com/content.aspx?page_id=86&club_id=942659. More information can be found at the FCPS website: https://www.fcps.edu/about-fcps/facilities-planning-future/school-boundary-adjustments/boundary-policy. MCA, and specifically its E&Y Committee, will continue to stay active on the important issue of overcrowding and under-enrollment in McLean schools. E&Y invites you to attend committee meetings the third Tuesday of every month to learn more about this and other issues facing our schools.