More Redistricting Talks for Albemarle Schools

February 14, 2013

The Albemarle County School Board is continuing to look at ways to handle overcrowding at several of its elementary schools. For months, two sub-committees have been assessing how to deal with too many students and projected growth at Agnor-Hurt Elementary School as well as elementary schools in the county's western feeder pattern.

At Thursday night's school board meeting, superintendent Pam Moran's recommendations were laid out to the board.

Under Moran's plan, 94 Agnor-Hurt students would change schools. Forty-six students from Woodland/Earlysville Road would move to Broadus Wood Elementary School, 20 students from Northfield/Huntington would go to Woodbrook Elementary School and 28 students from Squirrel Ridge and Townwood would be shifted to Greer Elementary School.

A second recommendation is to redistrict middle school students from Northfield/Huntington to Jouett Middle School.

Meanwhile, middle school students from Crenshaw/Triangle Ct. would remain at Jouett Middle School as the only Agnor-Hurt neighborhood that has students attending Burley Middle School.

"We tried to figure out what was best for each child and each community and how they would be impacted," said Heather Swindler, who serves on the Agnor-Hurt redistricting sub-committee. "We tried to look at more than just which school has chairs that kids can sit in."

Some board members voiced their concerns with the Agnor-Hurt recommendations because they say impacting middle schools was not in the original plan.

"I'm not saying this isn't well-thought, not saying it's not necessarily good ideas in there, but it's gotten me a bit uncomfortable that we went outside of the scope of the original charge," said board member Ned Gallaway.

School board member Diantha McKeel agreed that the recommendations fall outside of what the sub-committee was expected to assess.

"We don't want our community to feel like that they've been blind sighted, that all of a sudden we were going to redistrict at the elementary school level and suddenly now we're redistricting not only elementary but middle school," said McKeel.

Recommendations for the western feeder pattern include not redistricting students at Meriwether Lewis Elementary and reviewing a nearly $6 million capital improvement request for Crozet Elementary School.

School board members say they will evaluate the recommendations over the next few weeks. A public hearing is scheduled for March 14. A final vote by the school board could take place the same day.

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