September 29, 2005
Tonight was the final chance for the public to show their approval or disapproval of Albemarle County's redistricting plan. The fate of over 500 students hangs in the balance.
The concerns of affected students ranges from leaving friends behind, to limiting diversity in certain schools. For most who spoke, it gave them one last chance to voice their concerns about the outcome.
A crowded Lane Auditorium was the final sight for public comment on the Albemarle County School redistricting plan. Parents and faculty expressed concerns about the plan slated to move 524 students next fall.
"I prefer for my child not to moved at the present, given the lack of the present need even if it were to mean a need in the future," said Sara Trundel.
Some are upset over the idea of shifting students because of estimated future growth.
"A move based on best-guess growth estimates would not only be a disservice to our families but also to this entire 18 month redistricting process," said Kathy O'Connor.
While others, including Burley Middle School Principal Bernard Hairston, worry about racial and socio-economic disparities amongst the schools.
"We will send the message that we choose to continue to promote generational mistrust to our minority and disadvantaged communities," Dr. Hairston said.
"It is appearing to the black and African American community that we are moving them all into one school," said Ron Price.
But for some like Ellie Leach, the problem is much more immediate.
"I will be going away from my best friend. My friends that I have known for six years," she said.
Albemarle County School staff believe the plan is the best option to fix capacity issues while doing the least amount of damage.
"This plan does establish boundaries without going too deep in terms of affecting a lot of people," said Dr. Diane Behrens.
The board will next tackle redistricting at their October 10th meeting. At that time, they will make a final decision of who gets redistricted, and who will be allowed to be grandfathered.
If students are affected by the changes, they should have already been notified by the district.