School Redistricting Plan Hits Snag

By: Venton Blandin
By: Venton Blandin

For weeks now, the Albemarle County School community has been dealing with a controversial proposal for redistricting. In the center of it all, is a 16 member panel of volunteers, appointed by the school board. Their plan, was expected to be presented in its final format, on the night of Tuesday, February 15th.

A plan to transfer students from Bellair, Ednam, Farmington, and Flordon, who attend Murray Elementary School, to the new Southern Urban Elementary School set to open in 2007 was slashed for several reasons.

The slashed proposal also included ending the split feeder pattern from Meriwether Lewis, causing some students to go from Meriwether to Henley instead of Jack Jouett, before going on to Western Albemarle High School. If the committee's plan was brought forward it would changed those school's populations as well as their levels of diversity.

Students attending Woodbrook Elementary would have been assigned to Jack Jouett Middle instead of Sutherland Middle, causing a drastic shift in numbers. The number of white students at Sutherland would have jumped up 5 percent, from nearly 78 to more than 83 percent; and the number of black students would have fallen 7 percent, from 15 to less than 9 percent.

Broadus Wood Elementary School would have been unaffected in the proposed plan, and would continue to have had a student population of more than 96 percent white children. Meriwether Lewis and Henley Middle would have also retained student populations of at least 93 percent white students while Western Albemarle's population would retain more than 92 percent white students.

As the plan for redistricting stands now, the committee will have to come up with a shorter plan as phase one for action by the superintendent for school year 2005. Some details that CBS19 / ABC 16 do know about phase one are that they are deciding whether to build the new school, or instead add students to existing schools.

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