Redistricting, by its very nature tears families and communities apart. And that sucks. But it is what it is.
There’s quite a conversation happening in Albemarle County right now as many school districts are undergoing redistricting discussions – evaluating current, past and projected enrollment numbers. I’ve been writing about the proposed redistricting a lot in part because schools matter. Better schools = better housing prices. (and better educated kids, too, presumably)
As I’ve told my clients for years:
1 – The only way to be assured that your kid is going to go to that school is if that school is private.
2 – Always. Always. Always. Check your school district – yourself – before you buy a home.
Albemarle is going to grow. There will be more people here. In Albemarle: 115k in 2020, 134k in 2030, 155k in 2040. (see: Weldon Cooper Center) Schools will need to grow. (so will roads, bike lanes, taxes).
We need to accept and deal with the growth, no matter our internal struggles with the ramifications of growth.
Now (really, 10 years ago) is the time to plan for such things.
- Adequate Public Facilities legislation. Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, so the localities can’t do anything without the General Assembly’s blessing. Learn who your legislators are. Find out who funds them. Get organized. Understand that getting such legislation is likely going to take longer to enact than your kids are going to be in elementary (and probably middle, maybe high) school.
- Proffers. Each new family costs money. Each student (new or old) costs money. I’m somewhat making this number up, but if a student costs $10k to educate at a public school (really, why no vouchers to allow choice?), and the home brings in between $1500 per year for a $200k home to $4500 for a $600k home … these homes are not paying for themselves. The bulk of school funding comes from property taxes.
- Special Tax District. I know other areas of the country have school taxes (and fire taxes, etc) – would you consider paying a school tax if you could be assured that the money would be spent wisely and only for schools (not increased bureaucracy or unnecessary administrators)?
- Limit population : Now that you’re here, would you want a cap on how many people are permitted to live in Albemarle County? (see: ASAP)
- Make no mistake; there are social and economic demographic idiosyncrasies in each of these schools that distinguish each school.
Neighborhoods may be split; the biggest target is Old Trail, but other neighborhoods are likely to face splits … does it have to be this way?