Henrico Redistricting: A Wyndham Forest Parent’s Perspective
As many know, the county in which I live in is going through school re-districting. The initial phase of the project required countless un-paid hours for community volunteers who poured over the data presented and created 2 pairings. The process is documented here. The community I live in [Wyndham Forest] is affected by the outcome of […]
As many know, the county in which I live in is going through school re-districting. The initial phase of the project required countless un-paid hours for community volunteers who poured over the data presented and created 2 pairings. The process is documented here. The community I live in [Wyndham Forest] is affected by the outcome of these meetings and the resulting recommendation of Pairing 2. I believe that in addition to our communities concerns with Pairing 2, that Pairing 1 is better for Henrico County as a whole. Here are the points that I believe support this claim:
Pairing 1 does a much better job across the county of keeping school communities together. Pairing 2 has 60 percent more splits (cases where students from one school go to different schools at the next level) between elementary and middle school. This is huge. We all know how tough middle school is and the more often children make the transition with their friends the better. Pairing 2 also has one more split than Pairing 1 between middle and high school.
A majority of the redistricting committee voted for Pairing 1. It’s only because they decided to have each subcommittee vote separately that Pairing 2 was recommended. The high school committee was strong for Pairing 1. The other two supported Pairing 2 by one vote each.
I suspect Pairing 1 will result in much less busing of students. Pairing 2 has too many cases where a community near one school is sent a long distance to another. A recent school bus accident reinforces how important it is to minimize the amount of time our children spend in transit. The fewer miles driven by either students or county buses also saves money and is beneficial to the environment.
I suspect that analysis will show that Pairing 1 supports true walk-ability better. Walking to school promotes good health for our children and a better environment.
Pairing 2 does not necessarily do a better job of balancing school enrollment and student capacity numbers. There are some cases where that is true and somewhere Pairing 1 is better. For example, Pairing 1 helps the new high school get to an efficient enrollment — one the administration says is large enough to offer all the student programs and classes — sooner than Pairing 2.
Pairing 1 might allow the county to put off having to build another elementary school in the Far West End so soon. In Pairing 2, Colonial Trail starts off over capacity in 2010 and jumps to 121 percent in 2012 an 132 percent in 2013. In Pairing 1, Colonial Trail does not even get to full capacity until 2012. Delaying construction of another elementary school would save county taxpayers money, maybe make resources available for some projects in eastern Henrico and delay another round of elementary redistricting.
In addition to these claims, the following is the effect that Pairing 2 has on our particular community:
- In Pairing 2 does not take into account one of the most natural and recognizable boundaries in Henrico County I-295. By having the students of Wyndham Forest attend the new high school Pairing 2 is clearly ignoring this boundary, as Wyndham Forest would be the only community north of 295 not attending Deep Run.
- We would be the only community north of I-295/I-64 going to the new high school in Pairing 2. There are some communities to our east that are also north of I-295, not just boxed in by both highways.
- In Pairing 2 our children will be moved from a school that is approximately 1 mile and within walking distance to our neighborhood [sidewalks included] to one which is approximately 6 miles away and clearly not walk-able.
- Given our proximity to Deep Run High School, the track team utilizes our neighborhood for training purposes.
It is great to see our community rallying to support the effort to this effort. I think during this process we need to keep the following in mind:
Stay positive. Don’t go negative.
Don’t bash other neighborhoods or people. It doesn’t help and only motivates others to work against us.
Don’t push the plan with the idea of dragging other neighborhoods with us. That’s already happening to us and we know how that feels.
I am still confident we will get there, but we all need to work really hard together.
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