ALDIE, Va. – Loudoun County remains one of the fastest growing counties in the country and nowhere is that reflected more than in the school district.
When Edgar Hatrick took over Loudoun county schools 21 years ago, there were 14,000 students. Now there are 68,000.
“We will continue to grow by more than 2,000 students a year as far as the eye can see” says Hatrick.
He predicts school enrollment could reach 100,000 students when the county is fully built up, based on the current zoning rules.
The county opened two new schools this year, John Champe High School in Aldie, and Frederick Douglas Elementary school in Leesburg.
The county now has 13 high schools and Hatrick says there are two more coming by 2015 — one in the northern Ashburn area and another in the Loudoun Estates area.
Those two new high schools will relieve overcrowding at Stone Ridge Broad Run and Brier Woods high schools.
Loudoun county opened schools before Labor Day, getting a waiver on the so-called Kings Dominion law, which prohibits Virginia schools from opening before the holiday. The law was set up years ago to help the tourism industry.
Hatrick says they won’t be eligible for a similar waiver next school year.
School does not begin until Sept. 4 in Fairfax, Prince William and Arlington Counties and the City of Alexandria because of the law.
There have been several attempts to repeal the law. During the last legislative session, a repeal passed the House of Delegates but, but failed in the Senate.
Local educators say starting school after Labor Day puts them at a competitive disadvantage with schools across the country because of set dates for nationwide standardized tests.
“We just look forward to, at least communities and counties, being able to decide when school ought to start,” says Hatrick.
A vote to repeal the law is likely to come up again in the 2013 legislative session.