FCPS Southwestern Regional Planning Study Committee
Phase I Executive Summary
The Southwestern Regional Planning Study Committee was convened to engage
the community, initially representing 23 elementary schools, in reviewing a July,
2009 report from Fairfax County Public Schools. The July, 2009 report focused
on two issues and proposed one primary solution.
Issue 1: Based on enrollment projection and capacity balances updated October
23, 2009, and assuming continued operation of Clifton Elementary School, FCPS
is projected to have a capacity deficit of 1,276 students across nine schools and
an overall net deficit of 124 students across all 23 schools by 2014-15
Issue 2: Clifton Elementary School was placed in the FCPS renovation queue.
Renovation of the school to FCPS standards was subsequently projected in the
July, 2009 report to be significantly more expensive on a per student basis than
prior FCPS elementary school renovations.
Solution per the July, 2009 report: A new elementary school, located on the
Liberty Middle School site, would absorb a significant amount of the capacity
growth and most or all of the students currently in the Clifton elementary
The committee was asked to examine the scope of this report/recommendation
and the related issues. This task was challenging, in that:
1) The issues are strongly related, as the overcrowding solution likely
changes substantively depending on the operating status of Clifton ES
2) The proposed July, 2009 solution was proposed under the assumptions
behind both issues and in an effort to solve both in the most cost effective
possible manner. Such a solution may only be relevant if both issues are
accurately depicted, as it may not be the best solution for either issue
3) Data on each issue is very complex, requiring projections based on a wide
variety of factors. Such projections are as much art as science, and are
by no means simple to understand, let alone validate as the basis for this
To conduct the Phase I scope analysis, 6 sub-committees were established,
each with membership made up of members of the Study Committee, with no
member serving on more than one subcommittee:
1. Data crunchers/cost effective solutions
4. Programs and Centers
5. School Boundaries
6. Liberty and other sites
Without drawing conclusions on the validity of the data or the conclusions of the
July, 2009 report, all subcommittees concurred that the scope of the report is
generally appropriate, and felt that the FCPS personnel involved acted
professionally and with the best data available to them at the time. Several
subcommittees recommended inclusion of additional schools in Phase II
and forward that have a high potential for impact/involvement in potential
Additionally, it became very clear that a more thorough examination of data
behind the issues will be required to conduct a useful exploration of solutions and
their pros and cons. This will also be key to public understanding of the issues
and any resulting actions.
Proposed Next Steps/Actions
Action Item: Additional Schools
Invite the following schools to participate in the Planning Study
Waples Mill, Navy, Lees Corner, Silverbrook, Terra Center
Action Item: Timeline
As Phase I has just recently completed, recognizing the volume of
work and in respect to the volunteers involved in this initiative, the
Committee recommends expanding the timeline as follows:
Phase I – scope
Phase II – validity of issues/data – by early April
Phase III – solutions with pros and cons – by early May (or end of
Phase IV – public input – end of May
Final Report by early June
Information Item: Organizational Process/Next Steps
Establish four new subcommittees to replace the current six subcommittees,
subject to approval by the Planning Study Committee:
Subcommittee 1 – Capacity analysis and enrollment projections
Purpose – clarify understanding of the methodology used to establish
school capacities and enrollment projections for FCPS and for individual
schools, provide confidence levels, ranges, and/or alternate capacities
and/or enrollment projections.
Solutions pros and cons
Subcommittee 2 – Solution options without building of new school(s)
Purpose – the driving assumption for this subcommittee will be that Clifton
remains open, althought some scenarios should consider that Clifton
closes. Consider that most, if not all, additional expansion in enrollment
must be absorbed into FCPS schools. Possible solutions to be explored
would include, but not be limited to:
Expansion/renovations of existing schools
Shifting programs and centers
Shifting school scope boundaries
Combination of two or more of the above
Subcommittee 3 – Solution options assuming building of new schools,
likely located near the epicenter of the majority of the overcrowding
Purpose - this subcommittee will largely look at options for absorbing
additional capacity through new school construction and the necessarily
associated shifting of school boundaries and, potentially, programs. This
will likely require at least two sets of working assumption, one if the
existing Clifton ES remains open, another if the existing Clifton ES is
Issue review and Solutions pros and cons
Subcommittee 4 - Analysis of Clifton ES issues and potential solutions
Purpose – this subcommittee will provide an understanding of the issues
related to the need for, cost, timing, and community impact of
renovating/expanding Clifton ES, including the pros and cons of potential
solutions that provide for the school to remain open as well as the pros
and cons of closing the existing school.
While much of the work of Subcommittees 2 and 3 is dependent on findings of
subcommittees 1 and 4, our assumption is that, in the interest of time, the work of
these subcommittees can proceed simultaneously, as described in the timeline
The Final report will include potential solutions for the listed issues with pros and
cons for solutions as well as community feedback – but without recommending
any particular course of action. The report will also provide an assessment of
this pilot community engagement process.
A. Clifton Elementary School (“CES”) Renovation
II. Overview of Work Accomplished to Date
A. The Clifton Renovation Subcommittee has held several Subcommittee
meetings, each of which are described briefly below.
1. November 9, 2009: The Subcommittee members discussed the role
of the Subcommittee, discussed Clifton Elementary School’s history
and background, and began a discussion of issues related to a
potential renovation of CES. See Addendum A for the November 9,
2009 Clifton Elementary Subcommittee Meeting Minutes.
2. November 24, 2009: The Subcommittee identified four broad issues
as follows: (i) Renovation Scope; (ii) Water; (iii) Constructability; and
(iv) Community Impact.
3. December 3, 2009: The Subcommittee compiled an information
request for FCPS Staff. The request was submitted to Kevin Sneed
December 19, 2009. See Addendum B for a list of questions and
B. The Subcommittee conducted a CES Site Visit on November 24, 2009. The
Subcommittee met with the CES Principal, Arthur Polton, and was also joined
by the FCPS contact for the Clifton Subcommittee, Kevin Sneed. The
Subcommittee toured the site and discussed the school’s history, current
space utilization, renovation challenges, and potential renovation options.
The Subcommittee also met with various Town citizens to understand the
school’s role within the Clifton community. See Addendum C for the
November 24, 2009 Clifton Site Visit Meeting Minutes.
III. Appropriateness of the Scope as Stated in the FCPS Study
A. The Clifton Subcommittee agrees that the CES site has unique
characteristics that may present obstacles to renovation. The Subcommittee
also agrees that the decision to either keep CES open or to close CES could
materially impact the larger Southwestern Region overcrowding solution.
Accordingly, the Subcommittee agrees that consideration should be given in
Phase II to whether or not CES should be renovated in full (possibly even
expanding its capacity within the scope of a full renovation), in part, or at all.
B. The Subcommittee generally agrees with four of the six specific issues
identified by staff, but recommends they be modified. The Subcommittee
also recommends the addition of the “Impact on the Clifton Community” as an
issue given the potential impact on students if the school were closed, as well
as the school’s role within the community. Finally, the Subcommittee views
the two remaining issues identified by Staff as options or opportunities (e.g.
CES as possible FCPS pilot for Collaborative for High Performing Schools) to
be considered in Phase II, but not issues, per se. See Addendum D for a
summary of the issues as presented by FCPS Staff and the Subcommittee’s
IV. Validity of the Data as Stated in the FCPS Study
C. Although not part of the FCPS guidelines for Phase I, the Subcommittee is
already in the process of validating data (e.g., cost data, education
specifications, construction timeline, etc.), but the Subcommittee is not yet
prepared to opine on the validity of any data or conclusions presented in the
July, 2009 FCPS draft feasibility studies. The Subcommittee plans to opine
on the validity of the data as part of its Phase II work.
V. Suggested Next Steps
A. The Subcommittee believes its next steps should be to: (i) complete the
validation of data related to the issues; (ii) prepare a comprehensive list of
options; (iii) solicit community feedback regarding options; (iv) summarize the
pros and cons of each option; and (v) make a recommendation to the overall
Committee regarding how the CES Renovation should be presented in the re-
draft of the FCPS Feasibility Studies --- one of the deliverables for Phase II
per the FCPS guidelines for this Community Engagement Committee
Phase I Subcommittee Report (Draft 12/16/09)
1. Data Crunchers Subcommittee
2. Overview of work accomplished to date (please limit to 3-5 bullets at most)
• Compiled FCPS data on the identified schools into one collective spreadsheet
• Continued analysis of the data
• Extensive conversations with FCPS staff to understand processes and methods
for data collection and analysis
3. Pertaining to the subcommittee's topic, is the scope of the FCPS study
appropriate? If not, please briefly note the changes to scope recommended by
The scope of the study is generally appropriate. Additional schools may need to be
included for phase II. Additional thoughts:
• Might also consider including additional boundary issues in this study to address
anomalies in boundaries to alleviate some of the problems. For example, Oak
View has several “islands” of students that are bussed up to Woodson, when the
surrounding neighbors go to Robinson. Bull Run has an island population across
rt 29, where the neighboring students attend Deer Park.
• Travel times: is there a county rule about the maximum time a student should
travel? How do we account for travel time in this study?
4. Pertaining to the subcommittee's topic, are the FCPS scope/data valid? If not,
please briefly highlight changes to data/challenges to validity.
This subcommittee is learning about the processes by which data is processed and
how the projections are calculated. All the processes used seem reasonable. The
projection processes have been validated by outside agencies in past years.
We are concerned that we are never going to be able to VERIFY the data is correct,
that is beyond our capability. There are full time FCPS staff that do nothing but
compile data. The data is dynamic. As a subcommittee we are focused on looking at
the data to look for any anomalies to inquire about. We know staff makes every
effort to use the most current, accurate data for each issue, each projection, each
We do have particular interest in keeping an eye on the yield ratios of particular
types of housing (high rise, single families, town homes, etc) and the estimates of the
number of students each new housing unit (all in Eagle view) will actually yield (on p.
16 of the full report). We are interested in seeing if those yield ratios in the current
economic status will hold true. The housing counts comes from Fairfax County
Proper, (most current data January 1, 2008) on which this ratio is calculated. The
numbers in the report are based on county-wide data and we would like to see it at
the each high school district level. This additional breakdown will be helpful for phase
II of this study.
5. Suggested next steps
• Decide which additional schools to include, get representatives from those
schools, brief them to get them up to date, and then incorporate into phase II
• Continue with a data cruncher subcommittee in phase II and have
representatives from the data cruncher subcommittee on each of the other
• Continue to work with FCPS staff to keep updated on any new data, and work
with FCPS staff to fulfill data requests by subcommittees
• Continue to educate ourselves on the data processes and methodologies
• Consider including additional points such as travel time and islands in
• In phase II we will need understanding of next year’s budget, what is more
likely to be cut- full-day kindergarten? GT Centers? These decisions will
have an impact on
• Cleaning up of our compiled data, some columns need to be taken out due to
combining data that shouldn’t be combined
• How will the individual school data sheets be used? What is the process?
Executive Overview Phase I Final Report of the Liberty and Other Sites
Subcommittee 12.23.09 draft
1. Subcommittee Topic. The Subcommittee’s charter provides that the Subcommittee
will collect and evaluate all information concerning the appropriateness of Liberty and
alternate sites for a new elementary school.
2. Overview of Work Accomplished. The Subcommittee: (1) identified criteria for
determining the appropriateness of a site for a new elementary school. These criteria
will be applied to Liberty and alternate sites (i.e., minimum of 12 acres, relative
ease/difficulty of acquisition considering time for land use approvals, boundary effect,
proximity to the epicenter of overcrowding as shown by the map ovals; (2) developed a
mileage matrix methodology, shown in the attachment, that indicates that the relevant
capacity deficit schools average over five miles from Liberty; and (3) applied the four
criteria to select alternate sites listed for further review by school board staff in Phase II.
3. A recommended Changes in Scope. The overcrowding feasibility study states that
Liberty is “the most viable location for the construction of the new elementary school due
to its general proximity to the overcrowded schools in the region… .” (at 19). The
Subcommittee’s statistical methodology found, however, that the epicenter of
overcrowding is North of Route 29 between Eagle View and Colin Powell and thus that
Liberty is more distant from the overcrowding than potential alternate sites within the
actual epicenter of overcrowding. The Subcommittee noted that a Liberty site would
require more school/neighborhood boundaries to be adjusted than would a site within
the epicenter of overcrowding. For these reasons, the Subcommittee recommends that
the School Board expand the scope of the study to include alternate sites within the
epicenter of overcrowding and encourages staff to undertake its own search for alternate
In addition, the Subcommittee notes that Superintendant Dale’s December 13,
2009 press release recommends no new schools in the FY 2011-15 capital improvement
program because of budgetary constraints. For that reason, the Subcommittee
recommends that the study scope be expanded to include a “No-Build” Option.
4. Validity of Staff’s Study Data.
As noted in Item No. 3, above, the study’s comment that Liberty is in “general
proximity” to the overcrowded schools is inconsistent with the study’s acknowledgement
that most of the overcrowding exists North of Route 29.
5. Suggested Next Steps. In Phase II, the Subcommittee working with staff would
apply its criteria and develop a scoring system (0 to 10) to rank each site, including
Liberty, selected by the Subcommittee or staff under each of the four criteria, weighed
equally, and compute an average score. The Subcommittee would ask staff to
undertake its own search of sites and to evaluate the feasibility of all sites found by the
Subcommittee and staff in the epicenter of overcrowding. Attachments: Subcommittee
Power Point w/maps and ovals; Subcommittee List of Alternate Sites in Epicenter; Maps
showing Boundary Effects if Liberty or Epicenter Site
Programs and Centers
Scope: Determine if it is feasible to combine or move programs within the Southwestern
Regional Planning schools to reduce or eliminate capacity issues.
Overview of work accomplished to date (please limit to 3-5 bullets at most)
• Reviewed programs offered at schools centers in the study for size and purpose
o Determined that of all programs the GT center had potential for eliminating
capacity issues if moved from overcrowded schools to under crowded
• Reviewed schools within the study
o Determined that there should be additional schools added to the study
• Reviewed and updated information about programs at schools
o Found some data discrepancies with the dashboard data and had the
information confirmed/revised as appropriate
• Considered items within current budget forecast
o If the school board cuts full day kindergarten some overcrowded schools
could get back as many as 3 classrooms
Pertaining to the subcommittee's topic, is the scope of the FCPS study appropriate? If
not, please briefly note the changes to scope recommended by the subcommittee
The scope is appropriate – we also ask for the inclusion of additional schools:
• Waples Mill
• Lees Corner
Pertaining to the subcommittee's topic, are the FCPS scope/data valid? If not, please
briefly highlight changes to data/challenges to validity
Suggested next steps
Continue with the Southwestern Regional Planning study with the inclusion of what the
subcommittees have suggested.
Scope/Schools/Boundaries Subcommittee report for Phase 1
Purpose: Validate Scope, Schools, Boundaries for SW Regional Planning Study
- 23 Schools (less, more, or just right) for the issues of the study?
- Review boundaries of schools in the study (do they make sense).
- Did they miss any issues based on the scope of study?
- Work closely with FCPS staff.
23 Schools (less, more, or just right) based on the issues of the study?
- Based on the issues of the study and considering FCPS “under capacity” metric
& HS boundaries--we recommend adding five schools & invite them to participate at
beginning of part 2 of the study :
Waples Mill, Navy, Silverbrook, Terre Centre, Lees Corner
Assumption: If the under capacity numbers are off more than 10 per cent, there could
be a few more schools.
Review boundaries of schools of the study (do they make sense).
- Recommend a few changes when we are in part 2
- Inconsistencies in several school boundary areas (e.g., Islands).
Were there issues missed based on the scope of the study?
- We must develop solutions with budget cuts in mind during part 2. For example,
transportation cuts for GT centers and proposed changes to the immersion
- Consider a new distribution of the GT programs, to adjust enrollments without
Scope/Schools/Boundaries Subcommittee report for Phase 1
Insert FCPS Maps here to support the topic (attached)
- Southwest County map including the suggested additional schools for the study
outlined in yellow (To clarify which schools to add and to show how they border
other schools in the study that are overcapacity.)
- Map with GT center populations marked showing where the students in the
centers come from (To help clarify where adjustments to schools feeding into
different GT centers could help balance some capacity issues.)
- Recommend adding five schools and inviting them to participate at the
beginning of part 2 of the study
- Recommend establishing simple logic for boundary evolution (correct a
- Continue working with staff and our communities prior to part 2
FCPS Policy on Boundary Adjustments
• the proximity of schools to student residences,
• projected school enrollment and capacity,
• walking distances, busing times and costs, walking and busing safety,
• natural and man-made geographic features; the impact on neighborhoods;
school feeder alignments; contiguous school attendance areas,
• the socioeconomic characteristics of school populations,
• the distribution of programs and resources; the overall impact on families and
students, and comparative long-term costs,
• Adjustments shall be made without respect to magisterial districts or postal
addresses and wherever possible,
• Shall not affect the same occupied dwellings any more often than once in
Southwest Regional Planning Study Committee
Expansion and Renovation Subcommittee
Members: Cassie Eatmon (co-chair), Ellen Ryder (co-chair), Melinda Thompson, Beth
Hollander, John Morrison, Jahae Phillips, Kim Luckabaugh
Scope of Subcommittee: Is there enough capacity at the SW County schools to make
expansion and/or renovation a viable solution to the overcrowding issue in the region
and the potential overflow resulting from closure of Clifton ES.
Activities of the Subcommittee:
1. Obtained and reviewed the individual site plans for each of the schools in the
study, as well as several schools to the north of Route 50, to familiarize us with
the layouts of buildings, parking, traffic flow, and recreational fields.
2. Conducted informal discussions with school administrators regarding the current
use of their facilities and potential to renovate/expand for greater potential usage.
3. Conferred with County officials regarding the costs associated with renovating
existing buildings, adding on to existing buildings, building new facilities, and
installation and relocation of modular units. County officials were also helpful in
understanding how projections were developed and how economic and political
changes of recent years have made projections challenging. (Please refer to
Kevin Sneed’s memo of 11/9/09, regarding Addition Viability of SW Boundary
Study Schools, showing current size, enrollment, and FAR for each of the
Question: Is the scope of the FCPS study appropriate?
The scope of the FCPS study is appropriate. We recommend considering
expanding the list of participating schools to include those potentially impacted with
possible boundary adjustments.
Question: Are the scope/data of the FCPS study valid?
The scope/data of the study appear valid and have been useful for the purposes
of this subcommittee. Additional data and information needed to supplement the July
13, 2009, Feasibility Study have been provided. It may be useful to have more
information regarding existing modular units in the County that may be available for
relocation to the SW Region.
Suggested Next Steps:
1. Most schools are not good candidates for expansion as they are already
reaching or exceeding the maximum preferred size for an elementary school.
2. The Expansion and Renovation Subcommittee would serve well with a future
Subcommittee on Boundaries as a resource for cost/potential for building,
renovating, and/or adding modular units.