Even as Clifton residents were fighting against last summer's school board decision to close the local elementary school because of an outdated building and declining enrollment projections, a small group of people were working on an alternative: turning Clifton Elementary into a public charter school.
Dwayne Nitz is one of those people. He's also Clifton's vice-mayor.
"While it grew out of this particular community...it's a school that seeks to serve the county at large," he says.
It's too late for a seamless transition between Clifton Elementary, and Lewis and Clark Public Charter School, as it would be called.
But Nitz says his group is weeks away from submitting the charter application, and if all goes well, Lewis and Clark could open in the Clifton Elementary building as soon as the fall of 2012.
Virginia has been a tough place for public charter schools to gain approval. There are only four currently operating in the state, and none in Fairfax County.