Credit: Credit: Albemarle County Public Schools

The Albemarle County School Board will hold a January 11 public hearing on the recommendations of Superintendent Dr. Pamela Moran for the redistricting of urban ring elementary school students for the 2018-19 school year. The hearing will be held during the Board’s business meeting in Lane Auditorium at the County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road in Charlottesville. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.

At its December 14 meeting, the Board received Dr. Moran’s recommendations, which were the same as those submitted by a citizen advisory group.

The recommendations call for relocating 216 students to new schools next August to meet the School Board guidelines issued to the advisory committee. Those guidelines directed committee members to “address current and projected overcrowding at Agnor-Hurt, Greer, and Woodbrook elementary schools and consider middle school student assignments based upon changes to elementary boundaries.”

Currently, 627 students attend Greer. That enrollment number would decrease to 483 if the redistricting recommendations are approved. Agnor-Hurt, now at 474 students, would decline to 433, and Woodbrook, which is now undergoing a building expansion, would increase from 325 students to 509. Specifically, the recommendations would:

The advisory committee said the changes would balance capacity utilization among all three schools in five years and leave excess seats at each school to accommodate growth that may occur in future years. It also noted the new boundaries would balance demographic impacts on Agnor-Hurt and Woodbrook.

The advisory committee included 13 members: two parent representatives from each of the three elementary schools; one Burley and one Jouett parent; two at-large representatives; two equity and diversity representatives; and a member of the division’s Long-Range Planning Advisory Committee.

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to each member of the redistricting advisory committee for their outstanding and thoughtful approach to a very difficult assignment,” said Rosalyn Schmitt, the school division’s Director of Budget and Planning. “They met on a regular basis from September through November; hosted a community meeting that attracted nearly 150 people; and carefully reviewed hundreds of comments that were received from the public. They were thorough in their review of a great deal of data and very attentive to the feedback they received from community members,” she added.

The committee focused their research and deliberations around several guiding principles from the School Board, including working to ensure that attendance areas will serve the district for at least three to five years with a goal of five to seven years. They emphasized the assignments of neighborhoods to the same school whenever possible and an alignment of middle school boundaries with those of elementary schools. Also emphasized was the design of transportation routes that are as efficient as possible and the consideration of minimizing ride times within acceptable parameters.

The School Board is expected to make a redistricting decision by the end of next month. If approved, parents of students who will be relocated will be notified as soon as possible, and each of the schools involved in the changes will develop a transition plan to assist those families who will be moving to new school communities next August.

Information on the committee’s work, including its final report is available on the Redistricting: Current Project web page.