First hearing tonight on redistricting plan

March 13, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Parents of Jefferson County elementary school children affected by a proposed school redistricting plan will have the opportunity to give their input on the proposal during a meeting tonight at Blue Ridge Elementary School.

Overcrowding exists in many schools across the county and in December Superintendent of Schools R. Steven Nichols told Jefferson County Board of Education members that he believed school attendance zones would have to be changed to offset overcrowding and avoid the need to buy portable classrooms to create more space.

The redistricting plan affects Page Jackson, T.A. Lowery, C.W. Shipley and Wright Denny elementary schools, Nichols said.

Although students would not be taken out of Shepherdstown, South Jefferson, Blue Ridge and Ranson elementary schools, students would be added to those schools, under the plan.


Jefferson High School, the 9th Grade Complex, Charles Town Middle School, Harpers Ferry Middle School, Shepherdstown Middle School and North Jefferson Elementary are not part of the plan.

Tonight's meeting is one of two meetings designed to accept public input on the plan, said School Board President Lori Stilley. The second meeting will be Thursday, March 20, at 7:30 p.m. at T.A. Lowery Elementary School.

Redistricting can be a controversial subject, but Stilley said she has not been able to determine how parents feel about this proposal.

"I know redistricting is difficult and you will never make everyone happy. Unfortunately, it's a fact of growth," Stilley said Wednesday.

One objective school officials were striving for in the plan was moving entire neighborhoods so kids who live in the same community would not be going to separate schools, Stilley said. That is how some schools are set up now and school officials tried to correct those in this plan, Stilley said.

After the two public meetings are held, the board of education will meet to decide if any changes should be made to the plan, Stilley said. Although a date for that board meeting has not been set, Stilley said she would like to have the plan in place by April.

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