For several years, I have been involved with a group that advocates the renovation of our high school. When we started, our approach was controversial. Rather than just say “fund our renovation,” we pointed out ways the school board could save money. One was to redraw school boundaries of an overcrowded high school and fill the seats at a half-empty one nearby.
But folks in that area of the county didn’t want to hear that. They wanted a new high school and criticized us for suggesting they didn’t need one. A particularly cowardly school board member anonymously criticized us in a newspaper article, agreeing with the leader of the new school movement that we were pitting one neighborhood against another.
Thus, I thought this article ironic. It seems the school board, which approved building the new school, redrew the staff’s recommended boundary to include residents of the Mason Neck area, who have enough money to buy any politician’s vote they need.
Parents of some children who will attend the new school said they are upset that the School Board created an enrollment that guarantees crowding.
“I think it’s really bittersweet,” said Elizabeth Bradsher, a mother of two in the Silverbrook neighborhood who felt that Mason Neck should not have been included in the south county boundary.
“I wasn’t against any community. The issue is capacity and planning,” Bradsher said.
Bradsher is the one who criticized our group for pitting one community against another. She wanted her new school and didn’t want to redraw boundaries. The new school will draw principally from new neighborhoods of half-million dollar homes, whereas the half-empty school, which is newly renovated and home to an International Baccalaureate program, has a high minority enrollment.