A Slower Master Plan and Redistricting

Two stories of note from the Daily Progress –

Crozet Elementary may move 101 kids to Brownsville Elementary

Interesting is this –

In February, school officials developed four options for moving students from Crozet to Brownsville and gave parents several months to voice their concerns and opinions.

Only 15 people had weighed in on the options by the end of the summer, said Maury Brown, spokeswoman for the school division.

If we don’t tell our elected officials ahead of the time to make the decision what our intentions are, how can we expect them to follow our direction?

And –

Economy could slow Crozet master plan

Residents are “exasperated” by the slow progress of the projects, said Michael Marshall, chairman of the advisory council. “It just seems like the county cannot stay on schedule.”

Marshall, who’s also the editor of the Crozet Gazette, argues that “if the county drags its feet” on plans for a concentrated area of development in downtown Crozet, sprawl will occur in the meantime.

As for the plans to develop the downtown, “Nobody in Crozet disagrees with what the projects are,” Marshall said. “The citizens of Crozet were happy with the master plan. … Let’s get it done.”

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4 Replies to “A Slower Master Plan and Redistricting”

  1. I was one of the 15 people to comment back in the spring. If I recall, it wasn’t very easy to navigate through the County web page to find where to make a comment…as if it would make a difference to the decision-making process. I would be very interested to know what the other 14 comments were!

  2. Alisa – I don’t know if you were one of the 15 people who came to the public meeting last night, but we heard some good questions from the community, many of which I bet were representative of what was submitted online. The online feedback will certainly be reviewed by our Superintendent. I did recently ask our staff to update the redistricting web page to ensure all the materials were current. That has been done.

    With respect to any feedback making a difference… that depends on the nature of the feedback. If the feedback is we should have expanded Crozet instead of Brownsville or used the Old Crozet School, then you are correct, that feedback would be too late at this point. With respect to what neighborhoods will be transferred to an expanded Brownsville, that is what staff want to hear about now.

    I could offer a long list of redistricting proposals that have been modified by staff and the School Board as a result of public feedback over the years. This is Phase II of a small redistricting proposal, about 101 students, so there are fewer “moving parts” to adjust. That said, it is our goal to be open to feedback, to listen, to be understanding of the concerns and stress any redistricting places on families in our schools, and to respect parental input as part of the process. Have we missed something big we should be considering? Our staff will ultimately have to explain their data and the rationale for the recommendations when it comes before the School Board later this year. Public comment now and later WILL inform the decisions of our Superintendent and the School Board.

    Brian Wheeler, At-Large Member & Chairman, Albemarle County School Board

  3. I agree with Allie. Each morning, a young, green reporter at Daily Progress appears to field a call from county officials on what the “local news” should read for that day. Only a child-like mind would read the DP’s local coverage as news – or ridiculously self-interested preening for the “master plan” from Crozet Gazette’s editor, for that matter.

    Right now, the local news – according to our county officials – reads that they are short the money needed to pay for the wonderful growth infrastructure contained in wildly popular urban plans. The DP – and county officials – are prepping residents for “tough decisions”, decisions the board passed on when the passed trendy development plans and hungrily consumed 30 percent increases in assessments.

    I would look at recent election results, rather than the Daily Progress, for a more accurate sense of where the community stands. We just had two elections in which residents made their feelings on the rezonings in a “master plan” known. Sadly, after these elections, both Democrat and Republican supervisors for Crozet immediately passed two of the largest rezonings in the county, claiming the master plan is a popular rezoning guide.

    Sure, you can find a few local residents who are wetting their pants with excitement for the high density development in the master plan or claiming they are proud of their role in it. But the vast majority of residents don’t want to pay for it (tax increase are probably coming), shift students, or commute 12 miles to densities that are 3 times as dense as the 3/acre densities of the Biscuit Run development in Charlottesville. The “master plan” is detested.

    The School Board is reacting to policies that they did not create. If supervisors of both parties want to send thousands of people into Western Albemarle (both parties are passionate about it), then the school board will need to shift students from Crozet, almost annually. Students have to be placed somewhere.

    Residents should expect students shifts from here on out. The Board could add on to existing schools, but I would rather keep our schools small. Smaller schools, which may no longer be possible in Crozet, are more effective socially and academically. The student shifts are not the school board’s doing, but it has become their problem.

    The Board of Supervisors will also have to raise revenues to pay for the infrastructure to feed future growth caused by urbanization programs. However, they created this problem, and the excuses can be read as “local news” in the Daily Progress (concurrent calls for lower taxes and more spending on growth infrastructure can be in the Crozet Gazette).

    I believe the increase of news on the internet – blogs like this one – has a function. Even though I don’t always agree with Jim, he does a great job of letting a wider array of opinions see the light.

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