I support the staff plan. Had the representatives of the Leesburg area spoken with one voice, or even two, on the question of whether to redistribute students on the basis of economic and ESL status, I would have voted to support them as the elected representatives of the area as I did in Western Loudoun.
Moving children between schools should be the option of last resort. Moving children between schools is what the federal government forces you to do when it thinks a school is failing. To move kids, we should demonstrate that there are problems, that a boundary change will solve those problems, and that nothing short of a boundary change will solve those problems. Two years ago when Catoctin ES failed to make AYP and students were given the option by the federal government to relocate to a different school, we did not encourage them to do so. Now that Catoctin is making AYP, I do not see a new reason to do so.
I don’t know these schools very well, which is one of the reasons it is best for the area’s representatives to seek common solutions instead of turning to the rest of us to decide. But there are schools in my district, some of which my children have attended, which have dramatically different levels of ESL and students, and students with economic hardships. The differences are similar to those in Leesburg. My own children go to the school with the highest levels of ESL/FRL students in my district. I see no need to rebalance the schools in my district to change this mix, and I have not seen the evidence that the schools in Leesburg are suffering from problems that a boundary change and nothing short of a boundary change will fix.
Balls Bluff’s principal is an LCPS veteran but still in her first year at the school. A new principal of Catoctin Elementary will start in the fall.
The larger Leesburg ES PTO community has expressed its intent to work together to help the Balls Bluff and Catoctin PTOs to raise funds and staff events. I hope this will happen, and lead to a smoother process when ES-15 opens in Leesburg a few years from now.