The Albemarle County school division will start figuring out this week how to move hundreds of students from Brownsville to Crozet Elementary.
A 10-person community advisory committee will lead the first phase of that redistricting effort, which will include two public meetings in November. The school division is aiming for the School Board to make a final decision about the two schools’ boundaries in January, so it can start working with the affected families.
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.
To ease the overcrowding and address enrollment growth, the board decided to expand Crozet, a project that broke ground earlier this year and is expected to be finished by next school year. The $20.4 million, 28,000-square-foot expansion will add about 340 seats to the school.
The redistricting process will be the first since 2017, when Woodbrook Elementary was expanded and more than 200 students changed schools.
The committee will hold its first virtual work session Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Additional work sessions are scheduled for Oct. 12, Oct. 26 and Nov. 16, all starting at 6 p.m. Meetings can be viewed at streaming.k12albemarle.org/ACPS/publicmeeting.html.
Virtual public meetings to hear community input will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 4 and Nov. 9.
Committee members will review data and redistricting options before making a recommendation to schools Superintendent Matt Haas at their last work session. Haas will then present to the School Board. The redistricting proposal will be subject to a public hearing before the board makes a final decision.
The new attendance areas for the two schools should serve the district for at least three to five years with a goal of five to seven, according to an outline of the redistricting study. The committee members also could consider allowing Brownsville students to remain at the school even if their attendance zone changes.
Applications for the committee exceeded the available spots, said Patrick McLaughlin, chief chief of strategic planning.
“This was very impressive on two fronts,” he said in the release. “It demonstrated both the strong interest from these two school communities in their children’s educational future and their strong desire for public service. The more participation we have going forward, especially for the two public meetings next month, the more informed our advisory committee will be on the concerns and goals most important to our families and staff.”
The committee includes four members of the Brownsville community — Andrew Joyner, Christine Koenig, Jennifer Roper, and Jojo O’Loughlin. The four Crozet representatives are Rich Anderson, Lauren Carter, Cathryn Davis, and Rupesh Silwal, according to the division’s news release.
Jerrod Smith, a member of the school division’s Long-Range Planning Advisory Committee, will also serve on the redistricting committee along with Scott Guggenheimer who will be the Equity and Diversity representative.
To weigh in on the process, members of both school committees are encouraged to send their comments to RAC@k12albemarle.org.