Winding Creek and Rocky Run elementary schools could lose nearly a quarter of their student populations next school year under large-scale redistricting proposals being considered by the Stafford County School Board.

Conversely, enrollments at four other elementary schools—Ferry Farm, Garrisonville, Moncure and Rockhill—could increase by more than 100 students each.

Priti Mathur of Sterling-based ARCBridge Consulting, which the School Board hired to redraw elementary school attendance zones, unveiled two options at a work session Tuesday. All of the county’s 17 elementary schools would be affected in an effort to balance out enrollments, but middle and high school attendance zones would not change.



“It’s not going to be a pleasant deal,” School Board member Dewayne McOsker said at a meeting Tuesday. “No one wants their kids pulled out of schools they have connections with.”

The School Board hopes to take a vote on the new attendance zones by late February or early March after town hall meetings and a public hearing. The first town hall meeting takes place at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Drew Middle School.

Any changes will go into effect in August 2019, though rising fifth-graders will be grandfathered in if their parents can transport them to and from their current schools.

The School Board’s purchase late last year of a former Christian school off Garrisonville Road is expected to free up classroom space at many elementary schools next year. Preschoolers with disabilities who meet at various elementary schools will attend the former Christian school, which has been named the North Star Early Childhood Center.

Enrollment at the 948-student Winding Creek Elementary School, which is almost at capacity, would decline by more than 200 students under both of the consultant’s options. One proposal recommends moving students who live in Embrey Mill from Winding Creek to Park Ridge Elementary School.

The 884-student Rocky Run Elementary School, which is also nearing capacity, would lose 209 students next school year under one scenario and 156 under the other.

Winding Creek and Rocky Run would be at just 73 percent and 74 percent capacity, respectively, next school year, according to one of the options. Under that scenario, Winding Creek is projected to be at 87 percent capacity by 2025 while Rocky Run would be at 80 percent capacity in six years.

Meanwhile, Garrisonville and Rockhill elementary schools—the county’s most underused, according to the consultant—would gain 178 students and 154 students, respectively, next school year under one of the options.

Most elementary schools would be at less than 90 percent capacity next school year under both proposals, with the exception of Ferry Farm, Hampton Oaks, Kate Waller Barrett and Moncure, according to the consultant’s projections.

In fact, Ferry Farm—the county’s oldest elementary school—is projected to be at 97 percent capacity by 2025 under a plan to move Olde Forge and Rappahannock Landing into its attendance zone. Students from those neighborhoods now attend Rocky Run.

No School Board members offered opinions of the proposals after the consultant’s presentation. McOsker requested a report on the length of bus trips under each plan, while member Sarah Chase asked how many students would have to change schools.

Mathur told Chase she would provide an estimate on the number of students who would switch schools, but that figure was not available as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.

For a detailed presentation of the redistricting proposals, visit staffordschools.net/domain/4782.

Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402 jbranscome@freelancestar.com

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