[Sun Gazette editorials represent the viewpoint of Sun Gazette Newspapers, which provides content to, but is otherwise unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

An old-school football coach, irked by touchdown celebrations that had become the norm some years back, was reported to have instructed his players, “When you get to the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.”

(Good luck finding a definitive source of that quote: It has been attributed to everyone from Joe Paterno and Bear Bryant to Paul Brown and Vince Lombardi.)

That quote is worth remembering as Fairfax County Public Schools starts moving through a boundary-adjustment process. As these things tend to do, it already is bringing out emotions from the public that range from angst to near-derangement.

Everybody needs to take a breath.

While it’s no fun to end up being sent to a school other than the one a student (more likely, a parent) had been expecting, it is no great tragedy in the grand scheme of things. Any hysteria surrounding boundary adjustments, whether in Fairfax or elsewhere, tends to say more about the person doing the complaining than it does about the process.

It would be a rare thing indeed if this new round of boundary adjustments went through without community discord. Some is to be expected. But let’s keep it to a dull roar, OK? Growing communities have always faced this issue, and always will.

Let’s act like we’ve been there before, because we have.

(1) comment


The boundaries of every school district in Fairfax needs to be redone, but we need to do it systematically - using the date from the 2020 Census and the best analytics to draw logical, compact districts that put children in the schools closest to where they live. We should also put in a plan to redraw them every 10 years with each census.

The last time there was a comprehensive redrawing of the school boundaries was 35 years ago. Since then they have been gerrymandered here and there and have stretched them.

Making the school boundaries more compact can accomplish several goals:

1. Save FCPS money - more compact districts means shorter bus routes, fewer miles traveled, less gas used.

2. It means that kids will be able to sleep in a little more, since the bus routes will be shorter, and can pick up later.

3. It will allow students to bike or walk to school if they are closer and the boundaries don't cross major thoroughfares.

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