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Committee finalizes redistricting recommendation for Crozet, Brownsville

An advisory committee is recommending moving 219 students to Crozet Elementary as part of a redistricting plan to alleviate overcrowding in the western feeder pattern.

The students, who currently attend Brownsville Elementary, would come from the Grayrock, Waylands/Bargamin, and Western Ridge/Foothill Crossing/Wickham Pond neighborhoods of Crozet, under the proposal. The committee finalized its recommendation earlier this week and will present it to schools Superintendent Matt Haas at 6 p.m. Nov. 29. That meeting will be livestreamed.

Haas will then present his recommendation to the School Board on Dec. 2. The board will hold a public hearing on the plan in January and vote that month.

The new attendance zones will go into effect next school year. An expansion of Crozet that will add 340 seats is currently underway and expected to be finished by August 2022.

The School Board decided to expand Crozet in order to address historical overcrowding at Brownsville.

This school year, Brownsville has 736 students while Crozet has 310, not including preschoolers. The redistricting proposal would leave room for future growth at both schools, which serve an area that’s projected to grow by 7,945 people over the next 25 years, according to division documents.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, nearby Brownsville Elementary had nearly 900 students while the building’s capacity was 764. At Crozet, enrollment was up to 360 students, 30 more than the building’s capacity.

The redistricting plan would leave 517 students at Brownsville and put 529 at Crozet, but that’s based on current enrollment numbers and does not reflect future growth, according to a division news release.

The advisory committee made up of representatives from the Crozet and Brownsville communities along with other officials met several times in the last month to review data and figure out how to move students to Crozet. That effort included two public meetings and a survey.

“We were very pleased to receive a tremendous amount of community feedback, which informed our decisions throughout this process and helped us understand the community’s ideal scenario,” said Patrick McLaughlin, the division’s chief of strategic planning, in the release.

The committee had presented four options to the community to gather feedback.

The recommendation is based on the preferred redistricting scenario, according to the survey results. However, the committee decided not to move Brownsville students living in the area from Route 240 to Oak Drive.

“This small change to the scenario will help better balance enrollment numbers at both Brownsville and Crozet elementary schools,” McLaughlin said. “Our survey responses suggested that this would also keep ride times for students reasonable while decreasing local traffic and keeping students at the school that is closest to them.”

The plan also doesn’t move students living in the Chesterfield Landing subdivision. Residents from that neighborhood spoke at the public meetings to oppose moving their kids to Crozet. That’s because students could walk to Brownsville from their homes.

The Grayrock, Waylands/Bargamin, and Western Ridge/Foothill Crossing/Wickham Pond neighborhoods of Crozet would account for 25, 32, and 162 students, respectively, according to the release.

In the survey results provided to the committee, respondents suggested other alternatives such as redistricting students to Virginia Murray or Meriwether Lewis elementaries, building a new school for the Old Trail neighborhood, working with the Albemarle County to improve traffic flow at both schools and to phase in the new zones as opposed to moving students all at once.

For more information about the redistricting process, go to k12albemarle.org/our-division/redistricting-advisory-committee.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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