Heart-Wrenching but Necessary Redistricting Goes Underway in Fall 2020


Rhiannon Evans and Senam Dzodzomenyo

The Linganore-Oakdale-Urbana (LOU) redistricting study is an evaluation on how to decrease  the growing attendance rates in FCPS schools. It is due to this fact that some students will be moved from their current school to a different one, possibly having to leave friends behind. 

Natalia Alvarado, a freshman at Oakdale High School, noted, “I’d be a little sad about being redistricted because I’d have to leave a bunch of friends. ” The Board of Education realizes that some students may be separated from their friends, but they have also come to the conclusion that the redistricting is immensely necessary. 

 The LOU redistricting study began in January 2019, and the Board of Education decided that, to tackle the growing number of students, the county is building two new elementary schools.  The new schools are Sugarloaf Elementary School on Stone Barn Drive, and Blue Heron Elementary School near Lake Linganore Hamptons West Neighborhood. Sugarloaf will be open for use in the 2020-2021 school year, and Blue Heron will be open for the 2021-2022 school year. 

The plans to deal with the high schools population does not affect Oakdale significantly.  However, even the students are recognizing just how crowded schools are Cayla Otto, a freshman at Oakdale High School, commented, “[Oakdale High School] is borderline overcrowded”.  With over 350 students in the class of 2023, and over 1,250 students at Oakdale, it’s easy to feel as if there’s no elbow room.  

In order to alleviate the staggering 1,700 students at Urbana High School, Linganore High School will be taking much of the stress off by welcoming them.  In order for Linganore to avoid getting congested like Urbana, Oakdale will take planning block 177 from Linganore, and Linganore will be taking planning blocks 86 and 158. 

The county has made estimations of how schools will grow, along with the utilization rate of the schools for both how the attendance areas are now, and of the proposed changes.  If the attendance areas remain the same, Oakdale High School will reach 100% utilization for the 2025 school year, with 1,542 students. By the 2028 school year, Oakdale will be at 110% utilization with 1,693 students.  With the suggested plan, Oakdale will have 1,616 students and be at 105% utilization for the 2025 school year. While by the 2028 school year, Oakdale will have 1,680 students and be at 109% utilization. 

The redistricting study is somewhat heartbreaking for some students; it is never easy to say goodbye to friends.  However, when schools are overcrowded it can affect students’ ability to learn, and can increase the stress load on teachers. Luckily, the redistricting study is crucial in order to moderate the amount of students in each of the FCPS schools.