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More Detailed Background Information on FCPS December 2019 Boundary Adjustment Community Meetings about McLean and Langley High Schools

PURPOSE: The Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA) Special Committee on Schools (SCS) seeks to provide you with more detailed background information on some considerations regarding the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) boundary adjustment.

BACKGROUND: On November 19th, FCPS sent a notice announcing two community meetings on December 2nd and December 4th to start the boundary adjustment process to move some McLean High School (HS) students to Langley HS. FCPS stated that the purpose of the meetings is to present information on the process, possible scenarios, and solicit community feedback and questions. The meetings are schedule as follows:

Monday, December 2 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Langley HS Wednesday, December 4 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. McLean HS

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:

  • CURRENT SITUATION: Student enrollment in McLean High School has been above capacity for some time and amounted to 2,350 students this year, 357 students above the school design capacity of 1,993 students. Langley HS recently completed a renovation, after waiting its turn in the FCPS facilities renovation cycle queue (currently at a 37-year interval) which increased its capacity to 2,370 students. Current enrollment at Langley is 1,972 students, which was a growth of 49 students over the prior year and 50 students higher than had been projected for Langley in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP). This year’s enrollment amounts to 398 below its new design capacity.

  • FORECAST: Enrollment at Mclean HS is forecasted to continue to grow from the growth in the Tysons and Mclean neighborhoods. Although enrollment at Langley HS grew 2.5% this year, the current CIP forecasts flat to declining growth for Langley over the next five years. 

  •  CONCERN: SCS conjectures that such boundary adjustment may be too large and quickly fill up Langley HS. If no long-term solution is undertaken in parallel, the concern is that Langley HS may suffer from overcrowding sooner than later. Another concern is that future boundary adjustments may be undertaken in the long-term due to the fast growth in the ry adjustments may be undertaken in the long-term due to the fast growth in the Tysons area, and where Great Falls could gradually be redistricted out of the Langley school pyramid.

  • ACTIONS: 

  • BROADEN BOUNDARY STUDY SCOPE: During the FCPS Boundary Adjustment process, the SCS plans to suggest broadening of the scope of the boundary study to include expansion of physical space at McLean HS or other nearby High Schools as well as considering an Open Enrollment option, rather than boundary adjustment, where students volunteer to attend a school different than their assigned school. This would offer flexibility in capacity planning as well as choice to students and families.

  • REVIEW ASSUMPTIONS IN THE FORECAST: The GFCA SCS is currently researching various assumptions pertaining to these projections and plans. As appropriate, the SCS will engage FCPS leaders and our elected School Representatives.

  • ALLOW FOR FORECAST UNDERESTIMATION ERROR. In determining the size of the boundary adjustment, the SCS plans to suggest incorporating at least a 10% margin of error. The CIP projections for Langley HS, that were published one year ago, proved to be 50 students below actual for this 2019-20 school year. If the same underestimation reoccurs over the next five years, it amounts to 250 students, requiring at least eight additional physical classrooms. Given the historic 37-year renovation cycle, the Langley HS community cannot count on another expansion anytime soon. SCS believes it would be prudent to allow sufficient spare capacity for few more years to see if the growth experienced this year will continue.

  • ATTEND ONE OF THE FSCP COMMUNITY MEETINGS ON DECEMBER 2ND OR 4TH: Do not hesitate to ask questions or offer feedback. It is best to engage earlier in the process than later.

VOLUNTEER: If you have any questions or feedback, or wish to volunteer with the GFCA Special Committee on Schools, please reach Gordon Harris or Fadi Shadid at schools@gfca.org.

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