Parents await redistricting hearings

By Andy Jenks - bio | email

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - After months of planning and public input, Henrico parents finally have the chance to speak out on where their children will go to school.

Three hearings next week appear to be the last opportunity for parents to weigh in before the school board's final vote on redistricting. And board members say the process is anything but a done deal.

You see cinder blocks, a cornerstone, and a whole lot of construction. Some call it a sign of progress. But to parents, the new Holman Middle School and the new high school going up just a few miles away, represent a challenge.

"It does affect our children dramatically," said parent Jian Hua Chen.

Parents and school leaders are now several months into a debate on how to redraw attendance boundaries that have the potential to separate friends from close knit neighborhoods by sending them to different schools. And the talk is about to escalate.

"The whole purpose of the public hearings next week is for the board to get input on the three options that are there," said Dr. Fred Morton, Superintendent of Schools.

With less than three weeks to go before the board makes a decision, school leaders say anything can happen.

"We'll be interested to hear anything else they can bring to us," said school board member Diana Winston.

" Nothing is finalized yet," Morton added.

For parents like Tammy Davis, the school her children attend is not so much the issue. It's that neighborhoods, should be kept whole.

"We do really want to remain a community.We do all go to the same pool and churches and shopping centers," Davis said.

So parents are now gearing up, to let their voices be heard. Hoping the board listens, before the final vote.

"We know that there are gonna be people who are going to be disgruntled with us after the decision is made," Winstson said.

"The true reality is, pretty much everybody doesn't want to move. Well, if we did that we wouldn't open  any new schools and we'd just stack mobile units in schools and nobody would want that either," said Morton.

School leaders predict big crowds at the public hearings next week. And say further changes may still happen before the final vote at the end of the month.

Tuesday's hearing is at Highland Springs High School. Wednesday's is at Godwin High School. Thursday's is at Henrico High School.

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