The Stafford County School Board committed to two options for the Colonial Forge High School redistricting at a work session and meeting Tuesday night.
Attendees cheered when the board unanimously passed a resolution not to change the selected options before the vote planned for next Tuesday.
“I’m frustrated we didn’t do a county-wide redistricting,” Todd Brown, a resident of Autumn Ridge, told the board. “We’re ending up with a geography that doesn’t make a lot of sense with either option.”
Both options move area planning units, or APUs, 117, 124, 142, 143 and 187 to Mountain View.
Those areas include the Locklears, Peppermint Forest, Lake Estates, Manor Wood, Water Edge, Holly Corner, River Ridge, Rivergate and Abel Lake neighborhoods, as well as some other homes.
The only difference is that in what the board is calling “Option A,” based on the previous option 7, Autumn Ridge—APU 166—would move to North Stafford High School.
In Option B, APU 163, which includes Arbor Glen and Marshall Estates, would move to North Stafford. Both neighborhoods border the current North Stafford attendance zone.
Attendees also applauded when School Board members said they intend to zone a new development in Winding Creek, if it is approved, for North Stafford.
The School Board does not have any authority over what construction or developments are approved, which is the Board of Supervisors’ domain. But the board has sole authority over what school those neighborhoods are zoned for.
“It’s a thing that you should be doing in the future, is looking to future neighborhoods and districting them in advance,” Brown said.
The School Board also introduced a policy grandfathering in the siblings of current Colonial Forge-districted students, which board members will vote on at the next meetings.
It would not include younger siblings of students who previously graduated from Forge—so if a student graduated in 2016 and has a younger sibling currently in eighth grade or below, or a similar situation, those younger siblings would not be able to attend Forge.
Any grandfathered in students would have to provide their own transportation, board members said.
Also at the meeting, the board voted 5-1 to approve the capital improvement plan. Ferry Farm representative Dewayne McOsker voted against and Aquia member Irene Egan left the meeting early.
The plan includes a rebuild of Ferry Farm Elementary School and Hartwood Elementary School, as well as a sixth high school, an 18 elementary school, and other projects.
But it does not prioritize the projects, because the School Board and the Board of Supervisors are in talks to create a joint CIP, which will mean creating a new list.
McOsker criticized the plan for potentially pushing some projects back as they have been several times before, especially rebuilding the elementary schools.
“They still are lumped in here. However, you know, it’s kind of like 15 elementary schools have been renovated are newer schools or have been rebuilt, but then on the last two elementary schools we’re coming up with a new whizz-bang process,” he said. “The two elementary schools not rebuilt will have their day in court? That’s not parity.”
The projects shouldn’t have to be defended again when they’ve already been pushed back for so long, he said.
Rock Hill district member Patricia Healy said Ferry Farm was “high on her list,” but pointed out that parents previously opposed having a larger school built.
‘It has been probably a decade since we began this renovation review rebuild of the elementary schools,” Healy said. “Moncure ended up costing us significantly more money so that ended up bumping Ferry Farm back even further.
“I remember many residents of the Ferry Farm community who said, ‘We don’t want a bigger school,’ “ she added. “But it needs to be reviewed because this has been on the books for so long that things change.”