News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, February 1, 2008

Redistricting Boogaloo: It's really all about the football teams

And we thought it was the band programs! But at the first of three awesome public hearings on proposals to redistrict South Lakes High School boundaries to include both Bratz and Barbie lovers, both transitional neighborhoods like $758,000-per-home Oakton Woods and South Reston, that was apparently the takeaway.

For Brian Stout, a junior at South Lakes High School in Reston, inequities in high school enrollment across western Fairfax County have crystallized on the football field, where his team is compared with regional powers more than twice its size, such as the one at Westfield High. "The schools are literally not on a level playing field," he said.
Who says IB doesn't do a good job teaching abstract concepts like "metaphor"? Anyway, the public hearings were supposed to mark the debut of the awesome, kinder and gentler FairfaxCAPS group's efforts, but the Post reporter was so enthralled by gridiron metaphors he apparently missed them. But founding member Jay Frost says they're keeping the tone positive. And all that talk about lawsuits is just that... talk.
Frost denied that FairfaxCAPS is considering any sort of legal action against the county. Rumors of various organizations filing lawsuit against the county have come and gone in the wake of the study.

“Even if we wanted to we wouldn't need to,” he said. “We hope all those things would go away when we're finally able to talk to the board.”

Frost said FairfaxCAPS hopes to have a more engaged, if less vitriolic, discussion with school board members and FCPS staff. Frost called the tone of discussions until this point “acidic.”

“I'm hoping we're going to take that tone and turn it around; if it doesn't, something terrible is going to happen,” he said.
So, how'd that new, non-acidic approach work out?
Adding more deck chairs to the ship and rearranging them is not going to keep the ship afloat," said Nicholas Pesce, a parent of a preschool-age child who would eventually head to South Lakes rather than Westfield High under the plan. Another parent, Choa-Chong Lee, whose children would be similarly rerouted, shared a cartoon he drew of a ship sinking while School Board members depicted as sailors invited people aboard.
Meanwhile, South Lakes supporters pulled out all the PR stops:
Among the proponents of the redistricting were Alan Webb, a 2001 South Lakes alumnus, Olympian and U.S. record holder in track and field, who praised his alma mater as a place where high-achieving students can thrive, and Susan Sather, a South Lakes parent and Girl Scout troop leader. Sather wore her forest green jumper and argued that her 21 Brownies and Daisy Scouts deserve to look forward to "a community high school with enough students to let that school blossom."

"They are the future of South Lakes, and they need your help right now," she told the board.
Awwwww. Forest green jumpers vs. some snarky cartoon? Advantage: girl scouts!

The final awesome public meeting is on Feb. 9, and the Fairfax County School Board is expected to make a final decision about a month afterwards, which we'll keep following, assuming the snarky behavior on both sides doesn't turn us into Huckabee-supporting, evolution-denying homeschoolers before then.

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