Parents Sound Off on Agnor-Hurt Redistricting

December 10, 2012

As many as 100 students in Albemarle County could be affected by a redistricting move, and parents had the first chance to sound off on the issue Monday night.

Agnor-Hurt Elementary School in Albemarle County is overcapacity my nearly 150 students.

"We just had to be very creative with the spaces that we had in the building this year," said Michele Castner, the school's principal.

A redistricting committee appointed by the superintendent presented three options for redistricting to parents at a meeting in Agnor-Hurt's gymnasium.

Parents brought up concerns of class size, transitioning and traveling.

"That's always the main reason for a public hearing because it's going to involve a lot of different schools and a lot of different families," said Jane McBrian, a member of the committee.

Each of the three plans affects different students and neighborhoods. Some Agnor-Hurt students could switch schools next year to either Woodbrook, Greer or Broadus Wood elementary schools.

"When they see the trend coming, and it's predicted to keep growing, I think they're just trying to be very smart about providing the very best for all kids," Castner said.

Recently, Agnor-Hurt has had to find spaces within the school to teach students. But officials say the quality of education has not changed.

"If you come throughout the day, you'll see children learning in almost every part of the school," Castner said. "So from the children's perspective, they have no idea that we're overcrowded, actually."

"Most of the schools have a fair number of students. We're a bit low right now. So we can absorb students more readily," McBrian said.

While no school wants to lose students, school officials say it's in the best interest to provide the best education.

For those who could not show up to the meeting Monday night and still wanted to share an opinion, the schools have put up an online survey.

The committee will present a formal recommendation to the superintendent in January. After more public hearings, the school board will finalize plans in April, and any potential redistricting would take effect for the 2013-2014 school year.

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