Henrico parents sound off at school board meeting over redistricting plans

Henrico parents sound off at school board meeting over redistricting plans

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - There were heated reactions from Henrico parents at Thursday night's Henrico School Board meeting.

The parents don't want their children to have to pick up and move from their neighborhood schools. Some brought signs that read "No Option for Us."

School leaders say they have no choice but to take action, because Hungary Creek Middle is 10 percent over capacity. Shuffling what schools Henrico students will attend in 2018 is the solution that's sparking criticism.

"These are kids, and this is their community," a parent told the board.

At Henrico's School Board meeting Thursday evening, school leaders got an earful.

"Glen Allen High School right now is in the top 25. I'm convinced if you don't take a different path, you're going to wreck that, and by the time my kids get there, I'll be lucky if it's in the top 150," another parent chimed in.

At issue is a need to ease overcrowding, specifically at Hungary Creek Middle. The district is taking a close look at other schools in that vicinity to figure out the best way to shuffle the student population. That means re-zoning students to attend different schools.

"I find it difficult to adjust the fact that all these changes are happening, especially my concern is about the split, please don't split," a parent added.

"We purchased our homes to be a part of the Twin Hickory community, and a split like you're proposing will separate our children from our school and community friends," another said.

"Poor planning. Poor management and unacceptable allocation of resources for Western Henrico," another parent argued.

School spokesperson Andy Jenks says despite the strong feedback, this is exactly what the board wants to hear.

"All of the options represent slight variations in how the boundaries may be drawn in the future…[We want to] really get a sense of what the community is saying and talking about, so we can go back and either tweak some options or use the feedback tonight in the decision-making process moving forward," Jenks said.

"We want a single, geographic community in that section of the county, where all of our children live and play together and all go to the same schools together," parent David Moss said.

The board already approved sending some 70 students to other middle schools next school year. Now leaders are working on three options to shuffle hundreds of students in 2018. That decision won't be made until June 22.

Prior to that, there will be one more opportunity for parents to weigh in. The next public input session will be held at Hungary Creek on June 8 at 6 p.m.

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