5 Points on School Redistricting and Uncertainty when Buying a Home in Albemarle

Albemarle County

Albemarle County is HUGE (PDF)

One of the first posts written here was about redistricting schools in Albemarle County; sadly I hadn’t yet mastered the art of proper out-linking, so the stories to which I pointed are mostly dead. Today’s story by Aaron Richardson in the Daily Progress * succinctly describes the current state of some Albemarle County schools: “School redistricting is a headache for everyone, yet Albemarle County is at it again, considering a shuffle for a second time in as many years.”

High-quality schools are one of the more-cited reasons my buyer clients use when choosing to move to the Charlottesville – Albemarle area. I hope this acclaim is justified and continues to be the case.

In talking to a potential incoming client last week, we naturally discussed Albemarle County schools as part of a wider ranging conversation about whether this is the right place for his family. He’s looking for a rural property preferably, but also wants his kids to go to elementary school … and prefers to have a reasonable-length bus ride. How does one define “reasonable-length” in this context?

There really is not much to add to the Albemarle County Schools redistricting conversation than this:

- Read this from last year – Albemarle County Schools’ Populations Are Growing. Unexpectedly. ?!

- If you want 100% certainty that your kids will go to X school, that school better be private.

- Get involved in the process and the conversation. Schools matter, to our kids’ lives, our lives, our property values …

- The next meeting of the redistricting subcommittee is 27 November at Murray Elementary School.

- Always, always, always check your school district before you buy a home in Albemarle (or anywhere, really)


Some stories reflecting the ongoing uncertainty regarding some schools in Albemarle County:

Parents and neighbors in southern Albemarle County are getting more information about a plan to possibly shut down Yancey Elementary School in Esmont. NBC 29 – August 1 2012
Scottsville tells its supervisor it feels like ‘the redheaded stepchild‘ – Daily Progress – July 26 2012

One thing is true, the Meriwether Lewis parents are perhaps the best organized and mobilized parents in the community. For those in the Crozet district, I’d love to hear what the School Board representative, Barbara Massie Mouly, thinks about this; I haven’t seen word one from her in the press or any kind of outreach to the public.

* I’m glad to consistency in reporting from the Daily Progress; Aaron Richardson also wrote about redistricting last year. Having consistent knowledge is crucial when knowing about and reporting on local issues.

PS – I’m working on a story about growth areas in Albemarle County and their impact on livability and certainly of lifestyle.



The most recent press release from Albemarle County Schools:

As the chair of the redistricting advisory subcommittee that will make recommendations to the Superintendent for the western part of our county, I want to report to you on our progress so far.

Albemarle County public school families will have the opportunity to review proposed options for the possible redistricting and reconfigurations of some elementary schools in western portion of the county at a public meeting next month. The public meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 11, at 6:30 PM at Meriwether Lewis Elementary School.

One school in the western feeder pattern, Meriwether Lewis, has been determined to be beyond program capacity for student enrollment. At our November 13th meeting, the redistricting subcommittee began to narrow down potential solutions, given the school’s data.

Our subcommittee is also looking at data for Brownsville, Crozet, Murray and Red Hill elementary schools. Included in this review is the possibility of an addition to Crozet that has been proposed for the 2016-17 school year. We are taking this regional, long-term approach because the Western Feeder Pattern has the strongest anticipated growth projections for our county. The next meeting of our subcommittee is Tuesday, November 27th, at Murray Elementary School.

Following the public meeting on December 11th, our subcommittee tentatively plans to meet on December 18th to review public feedback and agree upon a recommendation to the Superintendent, who in turn will recommend solutions to the School Board in January. The Board then will decide upon the proposals that will be presented at a public hearing later in the winter.

Concurrent with the public meetings on December 11, options from the subcommittee can be reviewed online, with an opportunity to offer comments and suggestions. Web page visitors will be able to access the survey beginning the week of December 10th. They also can find information about the subcommittee, its membership, meeting dates and minutes at: www.k12albemarle.org/redistricting by clicking on the current projects tab at the left of the page.

I want to thank our school communities for keeping the discussion positive and courteous. As we work through this process, your input is welcome and needed, and I hope to see you at our public meeting in December.

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About Jim Duncan

Father, husband, Charlottesville real estate agent, bicycle rider & soccer coach. And more. Lots more.
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