FOREST, Va. (WFXR) — In Bedford County, some community members are frustrated about a proposal that would realign certain school attendance zones. Meanwhile, officials say they’re planning ahead, with at least one housing development already under construction.
On Wednesday, Aug. 17, there was a small get-together at Jefferson Forest High School, with some parents fearing their children’s education would once again be interrupted after years of pandemic learning. This time, the disruption would come from redistricting.
“Our concern was to make sure our third grader could continue her education at the elementary school where she started in kindergarten,” said Bedford County mom, Amy Prante.
Several elementary schools in the area would be impacted by this proposal, according to officials:
- Bedford Elementary School would add students from Otter River Elementary School who live on Timber Ridge Road and Belltown Road and students in the Krantzs Corner area off Route 460.
- Bedford Primary School would add students from Otter River Elementary School who live on Timber Ridge Road and Belltown Road and students in the Krantzs Corner area off Route 460.
- Big Island Elementary School would add students from Otter River Elementary School who live along Otterville Road north to Big Island Highway and from Forest Elementary School north of Cifax Rd and off of Charlemont Road.
- Boonsboro Elementary School would add students attending Forest Elementary School from the intersection of Coffee Road and Perrowville Road back toward Boonsboro Elementary School, including Grassy Mountain Lane and Tabernacle Road.
- Forest Elementary School would decrease the zone area by doing the following:
- Move the boundary in the Forest Lakes area west. All students on Gumtree east, so all of Forest Lakes and Lake Vista, will now attend Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.
- Adjust the outer boundaries to send students to Big Island Elementary School, Boonsboro Elementary School, and Otter River Elementary School.
- New London Academy would decrease the zone area by doing the following:
- Send students in the Goode Road and tributaries to Otter River Elementary School. All students west of Owen Drive and south of Route 460 would be also sent to Otter River Elementary School.
- Move the boundary back on Route 811/Thomas Jefferson Road to send students on Millspring Lane, Kingston Drive, and Smoketree Drive to Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.
- Otter River Elementary School would add New London Academy students on Goode Road and south of Route 460, as well as Forest Elementary School students along Old Cifax Road and Elk Valley Road.
- Thomas Jefferson Elementary School would do the following:
- Move the Forest Elementary School/Thomas Jefferson Elementary School boundary west to Gumtree Lane to send all of the Forest Lakes area to Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.
- Move the boundary between New London Academy and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School on Route 811/Thomas Jefferson Road to send students on Millspring Lane, Kingston Drive, and Smoketree Drive to Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.
District staff members say they’re still in the planning stages and are open to more input from parents.
“We heard questions about bus rides, we heard questions about the speed of development, we heard questions about the capacities of schools, we heard questions about staffing levels and class sizes,” said Bedford County Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Mac Duis. “We also, I think, would want to make sure families have plenty of notice if changes were to go into effect during the 23-24 school year.”
There is a second informational meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18 in the Otter River Elementary School cafeteria.
After the public informational sessions wrap up, Duis says parents can bring remaining concerns to a public meeting with the Bedford County School Board. You can also send any input or questions about the proposal to email@example.com.
To see the full redistricting proposal, visit the link here. If you want to check out an interactive tool map — which is tied to the Bedford County GIS system — of the redistricted school zones, click here.