Overcrowding Obstacles Due to School Boundary Changes

The Facilities Planning Advisory Council (FPAC) identified an overcrowding at Lanier Middle school and Fairfax High school, there has been a proposal deciding whether or not there will be a boundary shift in Fairfax County.

According to the FCPS website, both Fairfax and Lanier underwent recent renovations so further renovations to ease the crowding is not an option.

In order to help the problem of overcrowding, Principal Dan Meier and the PTSA president attended a meeting regarding the possibility of Robinson taking on some more students. When students graduate and go off to college, it decreases the amount of students in the neighborhoods. A projection showed that in the year 2017, the middle school will only be 75 percent full. Therefore, boundary shifts will be made to ease the crowding at Lanier and Fairfax and students in new neighborhoods will be attending Robinson.

The boundary shift will not move City of Fairfax students.

Boundary adjustments will only be considered for middle and high schools so there will not be a boundary change with elementary schools regarding the Fairfax-Lanier Boundary Study but elementary schools may be feeding into other middle and high schools.

Lanier, Fairfax and Robinson are not the only schools that will be affected by this boundary shift. Oakview elementary school, right across the street from Robinson, feeds half of their graduating students to Robinson and the other half to Woodson High school. If boundary changes are made, all of Oakview students will attend Robinson.

When Meier first started out at Robinson, there were 4400 students and now there are 3889 students.

“We have almost 500 fewer students than when I had gotten here,” Meier said. “We’re still pretty full but we can handle a few more students if they send them our way. I told them I had no problem if they wanted to send some more students here.”

Each school was built for a certain number of students. Robinson was built for 3900 but then the school received the modelers and trailers which provided more room.

“Since we were a school of 4400 students, we can handle it,” Meier said. “We have enough lockers, trailers and modelers that we can handle some more students.”

 The boundary shift will give teachers a sense of job security.

“By getting more students, it doesn’t affect the classroom size because we get teachers based on the number of students we have so if we have more students, we’ll get more teachers.” Meier said.

The FCPS website encourages parents and interested residents to participate in the Listening tour meetings (sign up is done on the website). The meetings will communicate with the community on the boundary study. Staff members will be present to listen to comments and concerns and address questions regarding the boundary study.

The Boundary Study Timeline and the times and locations for the Listening Tour Meetings are listed on the FCPS website. The school board will make a decision on the boundary changes after meetings are held. If approved, boundary changes will be implemented for fall of 2014.