EDUCATION

Loudoun, Prince William County schools deal with overcrowding and tight budgets

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(WJLA) - In a county where growth is part of life, speed matters.

"They've been throwing it together as fast as they can...it looks good,” says Karen Curran, an employee with Loudoun County schools who has one son in high school and one headed to Trailside Middle School when the doors officially open.

"We just have such a big influx of people that it's very hard to keep up with the times," she adds.

This is the challenge that Loudoun County Schools has been dealing with for 20 years. Loudoun currently has more than 70,000 students enrolled, with the number growing an average of 2,000 a year.

Currently under construction are a high school, middle school, and elementary school, but building plans for the next nine years are extensive – multiple schools on each level have a price tag of nearly $650 million.

LCPS spokesman Wayde Byard says the school population has aged out a bit, with not as many young students as in years past:

"Of course, if you have an economic change you could start growing again very quickly. Subdivisions that have been dormant could start building."

Prince William County deals with many of the same challenges, projecting ideal locations and acquiring land, all while classrooms keep filling up and budgets keep tightening.

Prince William’s school population is only slightly bigger than Loudoun’s at 87,000, but with the same average annual growth of 2,000. One high school and two elementary schools are under construction, with six undergoing major renovations.

Prince William’s goals for the future are also lofty: 14 schools at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion. Haymarket Elementary is set to open in the fall, and Alison Adam’s daughter will be there for kindergarten – along with plenty of students with all ages:

"I guess it's great we're getting a school. Hopefully the demand will meet the supply..."

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