With the new $64.1 million Potomac Shores middle school still under construction, Prince William County Public Schools staff has begun to plan for new attendance boundaries for fall 2021.
Three possible maps were released Thursday during a virtual public meeting.
Division staff say the school will help reduce overcrowding at existing middle schools, impacting Beville, Fred Lynn, Graham Park, Hampton, Potomac, Rippon, Saunders and Woodbridge middle schools. Those schools have a combined 10,135 students.
The Potomac Shores school, which has not been named, is currently under construction at 17851 Woods View Dr. in Dumfries on 52.52 acres.
Matthew Cartlidge, the school division’s planning supervisor for the office of facilities services, said Thursday that staff has developed a preliminary boundary plan and selected 15 volunteers for a planning committee that developed two more plans.
The preliminary plan from the school division suggests Potomac Middle School will be the most impacted, with most of its current students moving to the new Potomac Shores school.
To see the proposals, visit Tab 5 at the county’s boundary planning page.
Without the opening of the new middle school, Graham Park, Fred Lynn, Woodbridge and Rippon would be overcrowded in fall 2021. Graham Park is projected to be 26.5% over capacity.
“In all [proposed] plans, schools are projected to be under 100% capacity,” Cartlidge said.
The schools that are included in the redrawing of boundaries combined have 31 portable classrooms. The division does not estimate how many portable classrooms there will be, because placing trailers happens about six months before the school year starts, Cartlidge said.
On Thursday, staff heard from 14 residents who discussed their preferences among the plans, their concerns about traffic, school progression and more.
A resident of Potomac Shores told division staff during the meeting he was disappointed the committee did not include anyone from Potomac Shores.
School Board member Justin Wilk said at the end of the call a resident from Potomac Shores should have been on the committee and asked staff to find a volunteer from Potomac Shores for the committee. Wilk said some of the schools impacted by the boundary process are in his district.
“The more voices we hear the better,” he said.
Division staff is hosting another virtual community meeting to present on proposed plans and hear remotely from residents about the plans 7 p.m. Thursday, May 14.
Cartlidge said the committee is set to discuss comments received May 18 and vote on up to three proposals to recommend to the school board at its meeting May 20. Cartlidge said residents may sign up before the meeting to speak virtually May 18. The school board has final say about how to redraw the plans. At the May 20 meeting, the committee will propose up to three plans for the school board to consider and boundaries are expected to be decided in June.
The three-story middle school will be the first three-story middle school that the school division has built, Cartlidge said. For more information on the plans, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-791-7312.
School Board member Loree Williams, who represents the Woodbridge district, said redrawing boundaries is a tough process and asked parents to reach out to their school board member with thoughts about the plans. “We often get the best info from families,” she said.
Williams said she expects the plans will be revised.