Monday, August 14, 2006

A High School for Western Loudoun

It's amazing how much time, energy, and money a local government can waste working against what many people would say is a good thing.

The Loudoun County School Board has chosen to build a new high school just outside the town limits of Purcellville in western Loudoun County, VA.

Purcellville's leadership and some of its more vocal residents are strongly opposed to the new high school near the town purportedly because of the "additional" traffic it will bring to the town -- even though the vast majority of the students already attend one of 2 schools in/near Purcellville (Harmony Intermediate School -- grades 8 and 9, and Loudoun Valley High School -- grades 10-12).

At first the town threatened to sue the county asserting that their planning commission had to approve the school since it was to be on land that fell within the urban growth area surrounding the town (even though the county had bought the property several years ago for the purpose of schools and public parks and has already built an elementary school on a portion of the property).

This week's Leesburg Today (one of our local papers) carried a story stating that the town has now chosen to assert that they plan to condem and/or purchase the exact 40+ acres that are planned to be used for the school for a wellfield (a series of wells used to supply water to the town).

The thing that makes this so interesting is that they have the audacity to claim that this decision has nothing to do with the school even though they are passing up several other sites that were recommended with higher priority/preference in a study paid for by the town

First off, I don't understand how a community can be against adding a school that will relieve some of the the worst overcrowding in any of the schools in the county (the only high school in the county with 3 grades instead of the normal 4 grades).

I call on the leaders and residents of Purcellville to work, rather than fight, with the county to figure out what needs to be done to get this to be acceptable to all rather than wasting scarce resources at both the town and county level in fighting what seems to be a clearly losing battle.

The school is necessary, it is on the location appropriately chosen by the school board (the Fields Farm property) and the new school is desperately needed for the 2008-2009 school year. All of this fighting is a waste of everybody's resources and threatens the timely opening of the school.

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