- Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 05:00
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The King George School Board last week agreed to hold a public forum on March 8 to take comment on changing attendance lines for the division’s three elementary schools.
The talk of redistricting took place at a meeting on Jan. 11.
The School Board had previously discussed possible redistricting at meetings in September and October.
At that time, they had agreed that attendance areas for all three elementary schools are likely to change next year.
Redistricting is a process whereby new lines are drawn between school attendance zones that result in some students being shifted to different schools.
Superintendent Candace Brown’s proposal to redistrict in the upcoming school year was provided in a meeting packet last fall, along with a map indicating attendance areas.
Sealston Elementary School (SES) is getting crowded and Potomac Elementary School (PES) has room to spare. King George Elementary School (KGES) is located in the middle, so would gain some students and shift others.
A division enrollment report dated Jan. 7 indicates that KGES has 843 students and SES has 884 students. The same report indicates that PES has about half those numbers, with 431 students.
Brown’s recommendation would result in new boundary lines that would move 75 students from SES to be sent to KGES and would also move 150 students from KGES to PES.
OF POTOMAC’S CONDITION
But the School Board may be getting ahead of itself with talk of changing boundary lines for next school year that would affect about 225 students in Kindergarten through sixth grades.
That’s because that decision is likely connected to what an ongoing assessment study says about the extent of renovations needed for Potomac Elementary.
Brown reminded the School Board of the assessment, saying, “As we speak, people are going through Potomac to determine the work to be done.”
She noted that it is yet to be determined whether there will be a need for students to vacate the building during any renovations that might take place.
Generally such construction would be planned over summer months, but the extent and timeframe for possible renovations are still unknown.
The county is not expected to have a report about what is needed until the May/June timeframe.
The assessment by the county’s architectural/engineering consultant is slated to be completed within six months following issuance of a notice-to-proceed from the county.
In December, the Board of Supervisors took action to authorize $35,000 for a contract to provide professional architectural and engineering assessment services by Crabtree Rohrbaugh & Associates for future renovations of Potomac Elementary School, which is located in Dahlgren on a site containing 11.737 acres.
The assessment project includes development of a condition report to develop a scope of work and costs associated with the renovation of PES.
The assessment contract does not cover any actual renovation work.
An additional contract for renovations or other construction would be required to be developed and approved by the Board of Supervisors.
But that won’t happen until after the assessment report is provided, along with associated costs for construction renovations, and after a source of funding has been identified.
FORMER MIDDLE SCHOOL BUILDING COULD BE USED
Last fall the School Board had also discussed a proposal from Superintendent Brown to transfer all PES students to the former middle school building next year.
Brown’s plan is for PES students to be housed in the former middle school building while PES is being renovated.
Then, after renovations were done at Potomac, she would shift those students back to that school.
The middle school building is located near the center of the county, while Potomac is in Dahlgren.
It has yet to be clarified how redistricting would be explained to parents of affected students with the former middle school in the mix to stand in for PES for a year or a portion of that time.
FOR USE OF FORMER
MIDDLE SCHOOL BUILDING
Brown outlined her plan for the two school buildings in an Oct. 8 e-mail to County Administrator Travis Quesenberry.
Brown wrote: “At a July Work Session, the School Board analyzed and reviewed all CIP projects. This was done again in September. The board decided to adopt the following general plan for a timeline of actions and improvements, and, also, included a prioritized list of improvements. At that time, the School Board wanted to meet with the Board of Supervisors to describe and discuss the plan. They believe it still is important to discuss this plan with the Board of Supervisors.
“The plan identified several key drivers that are related and must be accommodated by the plan.
•Two of the three elementary schools are essentially at capacity.
•Potomac Elementary School (PES) needs renovation and roof work. At this time it is not known if this work could be done with students in the building.
•The old middle school is available but needs some refurbishment to be used as a school. Major refurbishment includes replacement of the well and HVAC system.
“The first step in the plan is to assess the scope and impact of performing renovations to PES. As you noted, this is in progress. Based on the assessment, the plan would take one of two paths.
“If PES renovations could most effectively be completed with no students in the school and renovations are scheduled to begin with the 2010-2011 school year, the old middle school would be temporarily converted to an elementary school to accommodate the PES students during the renovation period. Some redistricting of elementary students would be done to limit the overcrowding at the other two elementary schools. If the renovations are completed within one year, students would return to PES and the old middle school would be converted to an intermediate school housing students in grades 5 and 6 for the 2011-2012 school year.
“If PES renovations could be completed with students in the building, the old middle school would be converted to an intermediate school housing students in grades 5 and 6 for the 2010-2011 school year.
“The estimated cost to temporarily house PES students for a year before converting the old middle school to an additional school building is $6 million. The estimated cost to convert the old middle school to an intermediate school is $5.3 million.
“The plan removed from prior CIP requests a new elementary school and new middle school at a savings of $55 million.
“The School Board will be discussing additional CIP needs at their meeting on the 14th. I will send you additional information following that meeting.”
Last week’s School Board discussion included talk of starting the scheduled meeting an hour earlier, at 5 p.m. on March 8, to accommodate additional time for public input.