NO Addition to Western Albemarle High School?

Update 18 July – please see the clarifying comments from Ned Gallaway, at-large school board member.

Update #2 , 18 July – please see Barbara Massie Mouly’s response below.

And … I apologize for mis-reading the original story’s wording and and interpreting that as a vote. 

“The Albemarle County School Board last week rejected recommendations to focus resources on expanding existing schools to satisfy an expanding student population, leaving the possibility of a fourth high school in the county on the table.”


It would be interesting to hear White Hall School Board representative Barbara Massie Mouly provide her rationale for voting against adding onto Western Albemarle High School.

Charlottesville Tomorrow’s outstanding new Education division reports: (bolding mine)

During their discussion of the division’s capital improvement program, school board members unanimously agreed to continue the planning process for a new high school, despite the recommendation from the Long Range Planning Advisory Committee to build additions on Western Albemarle and Monticello high schools. The committee had said that the expansions would be a more cost-effective way to accommodate the growth in enrollment.

I’ve written about Crozet schools quite a bit; this is the Schools category. These are two of the more recent stories on the redistricting and growth conversation.

Note: I’ve emailed Barbara Massie Mouly and will post her response.

Update 18 July (bolding mine) – At-large school board member Ned Gallaway offers more information and insight (bolding mine):
An addition was not removed from the table. The LRPAC recommended removing the concept of a new high school from the table – whether a comprehensive or smaller scale concept which is a school board interest – and only recommended additions (WAHS or MHS). The school board opted to keep the new high school option in the picture. In the 5 – 10 year view the school board sees a value in having both options available if needed. The view that an addition was voted down is not accurate. There was no vote. Consensus was to keep all options on the table. Additions are different from renovations. A WAHS modernization and kitchen upgrade are in the 5 year plan and are prioritized ahead of high school additions/new high school in the current list of CIP projects. Happy to follow up if needed.

Editor’s note – in response to my question, “What are the options for WAHS and Henley, specifically? No additions, but renovations?” Ned responded again.

Please refer to (this PDF) Henley has the highest priority item after already in motion projects – a gymnasium addition and media center renovation. WAHS – Phase 1 is to upgrade the kitchen facilities. Phase 2 – is the modernization – the concept/details of the modernization will be worked out when the project goes in to design phase.

Refer to the current list of projects –

1-9 are ongoing/approved/in process projects. 10 is the new project – in motion and will complete. Number 11 (Henley) and up will be new projects – not yet approved.

The CIP process for the next set of projects is just beginning. Henley is slated for year one out 14/15. WAHS (Project 15) kitchen upgrade project – design slated in year 1 – work in year 2. Modernization design of WAHS slated for year 3 – work in year 4.

The prioritization of projects can change year to year. My guess is at the end of the current process the Henley project will likely make it through. However, it will not be certain until the CIP process runs it course.

* Editor’s note – I edited Ned’s comments for formatting.

Thanks, Ned, sincerely, for taking the time to comment and clarify.


Thank you to Barbara Massie Mouly for taking the time to respond:

The long range planning advisory committee recommended a “placeholder” in the school board’s proposed capital improvements plan for a high school addition or additions which could be at WAHS or Monticello. The committee also mentioned that if the school board wants the “placeholder” to be a magnet school the school board should give the committee appropriate direction. (I am reprinting an excerpt from their report below, and the entire report is available on Electronic School Board under the 6/13/13 school board meeting, at which the committee presented its report.) At our school board meeting on 7/11/13, we arrived at consensus to make the “placeholder” more broad to include the possibility of some sort of magnet school which could serve students from the whole county. I agreed with this consensus as it just enlarges the possible ways of addressing the anticipated increased need for high school “seats” over the next 10 years; possible additions would still be considered; there has not been any vote against an addition at WAHS. I note that any addition at WAHS or Monticello would require redistricting students to the school that gets the addition. As you probably know, our capital improvements plan is always a proposal which has to be approved by the Board of Supervisors. The BOS can decline to fund any of our proposed projects based on its capital budget and other needs in the county.

Also, I note that the our plan now includes renovations to WAHS including kitchen upgrades and interior modernization. I would be happy to describe these in more detail; these are in a separate item from the high school placeholder that I describe above.

Thanks for writing.


Excerpt from the LRPAC report of 6/13/13: “Please note that the recommended plan includes a placeholder for an addition (or additions) onto Western Albemarle and/or Monticello High Schools. It does NOT include land for a new school.

The enrollment projections indicate that the division will be short 300 seats at the high school level in the next ten years. While there is a deficit, the committee does not feel that it is large enough to warrant a new school. The shortage is at Albemarle & Western Albemarle while Monticello is projected to have extra seats. Per School Board direction, Albemarle High School should not be made larger. As a result, the addition will have to be accompanied by redistricting. The committee feels this is the most efficient use of funds. If the Board prefers a different path (i.e. a new high school or a magnet school) for other reasons, they need to provide clear direction and this committee will re?evaluate their recommendation.”

Editor’s note: I added the link to Albemarle’s Electronic School Board, which is a pretty useful tool.

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10 Replies to “NO Addition to Western Albemarle High School?”

  1. Barbara Massie Mouly was never present at any of the meetings where parents were invited (despite a big part of the problem being her constituency) and this issue was discussed. She has been invited by a few PTOs to come discuss this matter (along with the Crozet Elementary School addition matter), and she has turned them down – too busy. Several other School Board members have come to the area PTO events, but not her.

    I understand being busy, but I’m wondering if she even cares… How can one be so busy as to not attend one single event?

    How can you know how to vote if you don’t listen to constituents?

    1. Have you ever e-mailed her? Catering to the crowd at these meetings just puts you in touch with people that love meetings and
      get that warm fuzzy feeling by attending them. I have never come
      into contact with her but, I bet if you emailed her about something that she could answer she would. Don’t just vent, ask her your specific question…

        1. Most elected officials choose their schedules very
          carefully. Or, they could wind up at these types of things every night. Fact is you sometimes do not
          get a fair representation of the people in some of these.

        2. totally agree, Jim! If you want to be an elected public figure then attending meetings and talking to those whom you represent is a responsibility and be ready for it. BMM is utterly failing her responsibility and lets all of us down, I hear nothing but negative about her, for good reasons. Too bad there was no one running against her last year. She makes loads of time to go swimming in the pool where I see her often. Her priorities I guess.

      1. In fact, I have emailed her – many times – with either no response, not a full response, or saying she was “too busy”. I don’t make accusations lightly.

  2. I agree – I have never met a more disconnected rep than Barbara. We need a NEW rep – she is AWFUL and really couldn’t be bothered listening to what residents issues despite invites.

  3. I went to WAHS back in late 80 early 90’s it was crowded then WAHS is a great school im from white hall born an raised now i live in wv but why not build on help the kids of our day an time

  4. One wonders if the school board made this decision to benefit a particular builder or other contractor. The board’s decision just reeks of an underlying agenda.

    1. Welcome to local politics where the very nature of who you know gets you on some of these boards. If conflict of interest laws were ever enforced this area would look a whole lot different. The bad
      part is the underlying agenda with other people’s money…

Something to say?