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Redistricting Upsets Some Parents

By: Philip Stewart Email
By: Philip Stewart Email

March 8, 2007

Crozet Elementary is without question over crowded, so the district plans to move some students to either Brownsville Elementary or Meriwether Lewis Elementary.

But at Thursday night's school board meeting parents said the way the redistricting plan is set up, simply doesn't make sense to them.

One of those parents is Chris Adams. She is the mother of Catherine, 7, and Nick, 9. They live along Browns Gap Turnpike and go to Crozet Elementary School. But the new plan they could be moved to Meriwether Lewis starting this fall.

"I was very surprised and disappointed that the thought of redistricting would happen, since we built a home 5 years ago in Crozet so that we would be in the Crozet Elementary School District," explained Adams, who also has an older daughter, Megan, 13.

Kathy Rainey has two children of her own at Crozet. She lives just across the street from the Adams' and she, too, is unhappy with the change.

Both moms say the plan doesn't seem logical since they live far closer to Crozet elementary than Meriwether Lewis. The move, they said, would also take the kids out of the community that their families are very actively involved in.

"I go to Sal's Pizza in Crozet. Where do I rent my movies? Maupin's Video. Where do I get my prescriptions filled? Parkway Pharmacy," said Rainey.

But the board chair said the move is to ease over crowding at Crozet, and she wouldn't stand to see another year of students taking classes in trailers, when there are seats open at neighboring schools.

"As schools become overcrowded, as mobile learning cottages are brought in, that's not the best learning environment," said Sue Bell Friedman, chair of the county school board.

Numbers released Thursday show that without any change, Crozet will be over crowded by more than 100 students by the 2008-2009 school year. But despite the numbers, Adams and Rainey said the current plan was not the right one.

""I think it's better not to do anything at this point in time, than to do something that's inappropriate," said Rainey.

There was some discussion Thursday night among at least two board members, Barbara Massie Mouly and Jon Stokes, to allow an exception to families like the Adams' and Rainey's who live along Browns Gap Turnpike. Mouly and Stokes suggested allowing families along that road to continue sending their children to Crozet Elementary.

But board member Diantha McKeel and Chairwoman Friedman, both said that when there are two schools with room for more students they simply wouldn't allow over crowding to happen elsewhere.

The plan discussed Thursday is still not completely finalized. The board only agreed to take this redistricting plan to public comment. There will be a meeting open to parents and community members to attend Thursday, March 15 at 6:30pm at Crozet Elementary.

The following week, on March 22, the board will make a final decision on their redistricting plan.


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