Henrico kickstarts redistricting process

Committees named to oversee Henrico redistricting

HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Henrico school leaders have taken another step forward in the process that could eventually affect where your child goes to school.

In August, the school board approved the list of people selected for two committees that will oversee the redistricting process expected to run through May 2020. The redistricting would be for the 2021-2022 school year.

That process officially gets underway in September with two public information meetings scheduled for Sept. 9 at New Bridge Learning Center auditorium from 6:30-7:30 p.m. and Sept. 11 at Glen Allen High School from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

“I think the number one overall factor is adjusting for the current populations in Henrico County and then accommodating for future growth county-wide,” Henrico Schools spokesman Andy Jenks said.

In 2017, the school system had a smaller scale redistricting process in order to ease overcrowding at a handful of schools.

However, it’s been roughly 10 years since the school system adjusted attendance lines county-wide.

“Redistricting at any point can be disruptive and concerning to families out there so when we do it once, we want to do it right to the greatest extent possible with the information we have available to us now,” Jenks said.

That information includes enrollment numbers from all schools in the county. Based on the 2018 data, eight schools are currently overcrowded, with 12 nearing functional capacity.

With the new Tucker and Highland Springs high schools set to open in 2021 along with the expanded Holladay Elementary School, school leaders will also have to take those future numbers into account over the next eight months.

“We can do a better job throughout this redistricting process of redrawing attendance boundaries so that we’re making the best use of all the spaces county-wide,” Jenks said.

The school board officially approved the list of 72 people who will sit on the two committees, who were chosen from 385 applicants. These committees are made up of community members, school leaders and parents. Each HCPS school attendance area will be represented on the committee.

“We’re hoping our committees will bring a wide variety of views and perspectives to the table and aside from the committee work itself, these meetings are still open to the public,” Jenks said.

The names of the committee members are expected to be released in the coming days.

As the restricting process gets underway next month, committee members will also have to look at another major factor Henrico is dealing with - development. One of the big neighborhoods under construction right now is the River Mill neighborhood in Glen Allen.

“Tons of houses being built there over the course of several years,” Jenks said. “Any redistricting process has to, to the greatest extent possible, accurately predict how many families, or school aged children are going to be part of neighborhoods like that, and make sure our boundaries accommodate that.”

Jenks added no map have been drawn at this point in the redistricting process, rather a rough draft could be expected sometime in November.

For more information on Henrico’s redistricting process, click here.

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