December 18, 2012
After crunching numbers for two months, and listening to hundreds of comments from parents, a redistricting committee in Albemarle County has decided to recommend no changes to elementary school boundaries for the coming school year. The committee consists of administrators and parents.
Last week, the committee received feedback from 324 parents about redistricting plans to relieve overcrowding at Meriwether Lewis Elementary. Many parents pleaded with the committee to not force their children to switch schools.
Tuesday night, the committee concurred. The committee is recommending that the boundaries for Meriwether Lewis stay the same, even though the school is 50 students over capacity.
"There is no real demonstrated value to moving any kids from Meriwether Lewis to other schools," said committee member Kate Bakich.
To relieve overcrowding, members say the county should consider a larger expansion to Crozet Elementary in the coming years. The largest expansion plans would add space for 250 additional students at that school.
"There's at least one more proposed addition that can be made to Crozet that might be larger," said committee chair Matt Haas. "So there's more to explore there."
The committee's third recommendation is to modernize Red Hill Elementary, instead of expanding it.
The committee was united in Tuesday's decisions.
"All the members that were here tonight voted unanimously to support those recommendations," said Haas.
"I feel like our committee did a good job bridging the gap between parents and school administrators," said Bakich.
Next month, the committee will officially present its recommendations to the superintendent. Then in March, the school board will hold another public hearing before taking a vote.