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School Board: Let’s stay the course

Controversial redistricting plan still on table for 2010-2011

Story by Chris Graham
freepress2@ntelos.net

A proposal from Waynesboro School Board Chairman Jeremy Taylor to table consideration of a controversial school-redistricting plan to the fall failed to win the approval of a majority of Board members tonight.

School Board members Brian Edwards, Jonathan Lovelady and Doug Norcross all expressed support for staying the course with the process in place for reviewing the proposal that has it on track for possible adoption in February.

“It would be a little drastic to go off-course now,” said Norcross, who served on the committee that the Board created in September to review what the school system could do to alleviate overcrowding at Westwood Hills Elementary School.

The committee, which included school administrators and parents, presented to the School Board before Christmas a plan of action that many have referred to as a “paradigm shift” in the delivery of elementary education in Waynesboro.

The plan would take the four city elementary schools from a neighborhood PreK-5 model to a model that would have William Perry Elementary and Berkeley Glenn Elementary serving as beginning-tier elementary schools for students in the PreK, kindergarten, first and second grades, and reposition Westwood Hills Elementary and Wenonah Elementary as second-tier elementary schools for students in grades three, four and five.

The proposal has come under fire from parents across the city with questions about the nature of the shift and questions about the push to undertake such a dramatic change in elementary education in relatively short order.

For the change to take effect in the 2010-2011 school year, the School Board would need to take action on the proposal by February to give administrators time to make the myriad changes that would need to be made to staffing and bus schedules, among other things.

“Given the scope of the proposal, and the time that the committee had to meet the timetable that we gave them, I would suggest that the Board may simply not have enough data to act on the proposal in time for the 2010-2011 school year,” said Taylor, who proposed sending the proposal back to the committee for further review and consideration, with the charge that the committee come back to the School Board in the fall with at least two additional redistricting options for the Board to consider.

Board member Kathe Maneval expressed support for the course of action suggested by Taylor. Lovelady, the Board’s vice chairman, joined Edwards and Norcross in keeping the timeline for consideration on course for a possible decision on the redistricting plan next month.

 


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