Dr. Brabrand's Statement on the Boundary Policy Review
The 2019-20 school year is in full swing in Fairfax County Public Schools (FPCS)! I've visited several schools and it is wonderful to see students engaged and learning.
I want to take this opportunity to help clarify some misinformation that is unfortunately circulating in our community and in the media about school boundaries.
The Fairfax County School Board is currently reviewing its boundary policy (Policy 8130) which has not had a comprehensive review since it was adopted in 1986 when FCPS student enrollment was 125,377. I have heard concerns that the boundary policy review will include busing students out of their neighborhoods. Busing students out of their neighborhoods or open boundaries is NOT a part of the boundary review process presented by my office nor is it on the table for consideration. If you hear friends or neighbors discussing this issue, please help us set the record straight. We won't be busing students out of their neighborhoods.
At the School Board work session in July, the School Board asked me to identify areas of overcrowding that are not included in the current FCPS Capital Improvement Program (CIP) that may need a boundary adjustment. Until the boundary policy review is complete, there are no boundary changes planned except those identified in the CIP (page 46), approved by the Board in January 2019. The Board will be considering an amendment to the CIP at its meeting on September 26 to add a boundary adjustment for McLean High School.
The School Board also requested I hire an outside consultant to work with the Board to identify best practices in boundary policy and engage the community in discussion. The school division is in the process of hiring a consultant through the Request for Proposal process.
Until the boundary policy has been reviewed and approved by the Board, there are no new boundary changes scheduled for FCPS.
The current boundary policy provides guidance on implementing school boundary changes, program assignments, and school closings. The Board is reviewing the policy to determine what factors to consider when changing a school boundary.
The School Board wanted to review the policy for several reasons:
- Overcrowding at several schools
- Recognition that the current level of bond funding is not sufficient to address capacity demands, renovations (currently a 37-year cycle) and major maintenance in a timely manner
- The reliance on trailers (over 750)
- Planned growth in specific areas of the county
- The demand for additional pre-k classrooms
I appreciate your support for Fairfax County Public Schools, and I hope that this information clarifies any questions you might have about the boundary policy review.