Fairfax County parents packed a School Board meeting Monday to declare their opposition to a proposal that would expand a program for advanced learners in the county's elementary and middle schools.
More than 100 parents packed the School Board's work session, pushing the room to its fire code limit, to urge board members to reject a task force recommendation to expand the Advanced Academic Program for gifted children, which has seen a surge in enrollment since 1999, particularly at Louise Archer, Haycock and Hunters Woods elementary schools.
"We have a problem with overcrowding and we have to address that," said Lee District Board Member Tammy Derenak Kaufax.
w"But we need to put a halt to everything else and take a slower approach."
The parents, some of them carrying signs that read "Slow down [and] think," oppose expanding the program simply by building more centers to accommodate the county's surging enrollment, as a task force recommended.
Such an expansion would create boundary problems and separate students from familiar classmates, they said.
A number of School Board members sided with the parents, saying that while the county needs to alleviate overcrowding it should resist the temptation to expand the program by building new centers. Board members said they're far from deciding how to deal with the problem.
"There are fundamental questions that go well beyond logistics," said Mason District Board Member Sandy Evans. "We should not move forward at this time until we know what we're doing."
The School Board could vote on the change as early as next month, though it could put off adding more centers until the fall 2014 semester.