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Prince William County schools population grows, and so does the debate over trailer classrooms and school overcrowding

Prince William County’s continued explosive growth has led to another debate over teaching children in trailers.

Last year, the school division built a new eight-classroom addition to Neabsco Elementary School in Dale City. It was thought the new classrooms would negate the need for the five trailer classrooms and one portable trailer bathroom outside the school building.

But now there are now 12 trailers at the school — more than double the amount of portable classrooms than before the start of construction — the enrollment in Prince William County schools is on the increase. 

Now the division wants to alleviate the overcrowding by moving about 160 students out of Neabsco Elementary and into nearby Montclair Elementary and Kyle Wilson Elementary School, which opened in 2016.

It’s the second time boundary changes have been proposed for Kyle Wilson Elementary School. Coles District School Board Representative William Deutsch, who represents the district in which the school sits, says Kyle Wilson Elementary School should be left to grow naturally, something he says will happen soon with more homes planned to be built in the area.

Others on the School Board, like Occoquan District Representative Lilly Jessie said Prince William County is too much of a wealthy school district to have children attending classes in trailers, if it can be helped, and supported moving the children to the new schools.

About 40 students who live along Emberdale Drive in Dale City would be moved to Montclair Elementary, while the remaining students who live across the street along Darbydale Avenue, and in homes behind Hampton Middle School would be moved to Kyle Wilson Elementary.

School division officials on Wednesday night told the School Board that Neabsco Elementary School is currently 120% over student capacity. If the students were moved, the school would then be at 97% capacity, and the trailer classrooms would be removed.

Deutsch countered with his own presentation that showed Kyle Wilson Elementary School would soon be over capacity if the children were moved. If approved, the changes are slated to take effect this fall.

The School Board is scheduled to take up the matter again later this month at its January 17 meeting.

People in the video in order of appearance: 

Coles District Rep William Deutsch

Potomac School Board Rep Justin Wilk

School Board Chairman Ryan Sawyers

Woodbridge District Rep Loree Williams 

Occoquan District Rep Lilly Jessie

 

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