Langley High School graduation 2018

Langley High School seniors (clockwise from upper left) Sonali Bhatnagar, Celeste Campos, Claire Carmi, Samantha Lee, Eva Burns, Pranav Puritipati and Zoe DeTrani prepare to graduate June 7 at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Brian Trompeter)

The McLean Citizens Association board of directors on March 6 passed a resolution asking Fairfax County Public Schools to enact boundary changes that would redress overcrowding at McLean High School.

McLean High now is 14 percent above its capacity and that figure likely will rise to 26 percent by 2023, MCA members said. By contrast, Langley High School in four years will be at just 79 percent of its capacity, they said.

“Langley has this beautiful renovation, but to me there’s a lot of empty space,” said board member Paula Doyle, who has served as a substitute teacher for 21 years.

MCA’s resolution asks school officials immediately to begin a boundary review for the McLean and Langley pyramids to optimize enrollments at those high schools and the middle schools that feed them – Longfellow and Cooper, respectively.

The resolution urges the School Board to perform the review and finish the boundary transition as soon as possible, but definitely in time for the 2021-22 school year.

Both high schools have solid academic reputations, but switching some students from one to the other likely will meet with community resistance, said board member Kelly Green Kahn.

“We can’t underestimate how emotional these boundary issues are,” she said. 

While some board members pressed to add nearby George C. Marshall High School to the boundary discussion, others said that school already is near its capacity.

Redevelopment in Tysons also likely will affect Marshall High, even though FCPS officials are planning to build two elementary schools and perhaps a new high school in that urban center in the future, some MCA members said.

MCA corresponding secretary Peggy Flaxman pressed for the resolution to note a widespread school overpopulation problem, saying 10 of the county’s 25 high schools are over-capacity.

“This resolution looks like we want this problem in our back yard to be fixed,” she said.

Board member Jane Scott-Jones said the School Board is reviewing its 16-step boundary-adjustment process, which Superintendent Scott Brabrand has called “cumbersome.”

“This is an immediate fix to an immediate problem,” she said of MCA’s desired boundary changes for McLean and Langley high schools.

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