Students in Loudoun County are back in Wednesday morning after a decision was made Tuesday night about their future.
School Board members signed off on a redistricting plan that will mean big changes for some students. It is somewhat of a compromise for Loudoun County schools. Parents outside Leesburg Elementary Wednesday morning said while they understand the plan chosen was less controversial, they’re still not happy.
“It’s just not right,” says Gretchen Falter, whose son goes to Leesburg Elementary School. After Tuesday night’s board meeting though, her son will have to go to an entirely different school next year.
“He’s quite upset about,” says Falter. “He wanted to know who these people were who were making these decisions because he wasn’t pleased with them.”
The move will be made by many other students in Loudoun County, as part of the new redistricting plan aimed at helping crowded schools.
Falter’s first grader is upset he’ll be leaving his friends, but she’s worried about more than just that.
“The problem is I want my son to be exposed to all kinds of different kids and all different socioeconomic levels. It’s a bit of a letdown, but I think it’s a letdown for everybody.”
There was a contentious debate Tuesday between the school board and upset parents, as well as protestors outside the meeting. About a dozen plans were debated, and it came down to Plan 8 or Plan 12. Plan 12, the more polarizing one, was seen as “defacto segregation” by many.
That would essentially rezone and consolidate low-income and high risk students, mostly Hispanic, into two schools. Those two schools would be Title I, which would mean potential funding problems.
“It is better than the other plan because the other plan would have made two Title I schools in one area without knowing that they have any money to take and give it the proper resources,” says Falter.
Sara Monteleone agrees. “We are happy that the Title I schools were not formed because the funding was not secured but it was very frustrating to have a plan introduced with no time for studying it.” Monteleone says there was no opportunity for public feedback, either.
Monteleone’s children won’t be impacted by the changes, but she still says it’s all wrong, and it will lead to too much disruption.
“I know the school board members aren’t concerned with those tiny little day-to-day things, but when you talk about what builds a community, that affects it.”
At this point, the plan will go into effect next school year. But both Falter and Monteleone say there is a better way.
“It would be nicer if they would just take a little time to think about the plan,” says Falter.
“Take care of Evergreen Hills Elementary and get those people taken care of the way they should be and then rethink it properly.”