May 31, 2005
After three days of informational sessions last week, the redistricting advisory committee took public comment tonight about the redistricting proposal. This was the first chance for the public to voice their concerns and displeasure about the May 10 plan.
"I want to understand that this plan is truly considered the best use of all of our schools resources including capacity, teacher's resources and transportation," said one concerned parent.
The 16 person committee heard over three hours of testimony from parents and students describing how the proposed changes would affect their lives, including the testimony of two brothers who will move schools and be away from their friends.
"I will be the only boy in my grade to change to three new schools all alone," said Hunter Weis.
"My friends at school are much more important to me than my address," said Landon Weis.
Phase two of the redistricting plan would affect over 1900 students beginning fall of 2006. Parents showed concerns that the plan was based upon perspective numbers that could be years in the future, if at all.
"Data on future growth is very subjective and anyone's guess on which will grow faster, the north or west side of town," said Jennie Carter.
Many also spoke in favor of an alternate plan. The plan dubbed "Alternate One," was developed by staff in the Albemarle County School District and claims to move 57 percent less children and affect half as many residential areas. Diane Behrens with the Albemarle County School system says the backlash is to be expected.
"Change is hard so I think they will probably want us not to make changes based on what we predict will happen but wait to see what actually does happen," Behrens said.
Now the committee will meet next Tuesday to discuss the comments made at tonight's meeting. From there they hope to submit a proposal to the Superintendent by mid-June.