Motivate, Educate, Celebrate: Learning Together for a Better Future
Home · Community · Redistricting

ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOLS REDISTRICTING PROJECT

At their December 6, 2016 meeting, the School Board approved school attendance zones for the 2017-2018 school year.  View the presentation, street listing, and boundary map.
----

The new Bluestone Elementary School and the Elon W. Rhodes Early Learning Center will be open for the 2017-2018 school year.   All of our current schools are significantly overcrowded.  To relieve the overcrowding in all our schools and to re-balance the student population, the Harrisonburg City Public Schools has begun a redistricting process which will result in the drawing of new elementary and middle school district lines.

 

BACKGROUND

In most communities, the distribution of school-aged population changes over time as cities grow or shrink, housing stock turns over, and new homes and developments are built. When a new school is built, the decision must be made as to what areas of the community will attend the school. Redistricting is the process of re-drawing neighborhood school district boundaries to address these population changes and their impact upon the equitable distribution of students among the different schools.  The Harrisonburg City Schools enrollment has grown an average of 4% over the last 4 years.  We are currently operating all our schools above the designated student capacity.  Therefore, all our schools are overcrowded.   The opening of Bluestone Elementary School and the Elon W. Rhodes Early Learning Center in the Fall of 2017 will not only provide additional space for our students, but will also relieve the overcrowding at all our elementary and middle schools.  The overcrowding issues at our elementary and middle schools will be corrected by redistricting the school division.

PROCESS

The Harrisonburg City School Board has developed guidelines as well as a timeline to facilitate the redistricting process.  A Redistricting Committee has been established. This committee will review all the redistricting information and make a recommendation to the School Board.  The Redistricting Committee is comprised of parents, teachers, representatives from the Harrisonburg Transportation Department and Central Office administrators. The final authority for establishing the new school district lines lies with the School Board.  To help and guide the division during the redistricting process, the school division has secured the services of the Versatrans Division of Tyler Technologies.   Tyler Technologies will serve as the consultant to provide redistricting services.  Tyler Technologies is an experienced consulting company, providing direction and software to hundreds of districts nationwide. The lead consultant on the project will be Mr. Merle Winn, who has over 30 years of experience in providing geospatial centric information technology solutions.


 

TIMELINE

 

February 22, 2016 Preliminary discussion on redistricting and review draft guidelines
March 1, 2016 School Board review and discuss redistricting guidelines
April 5, 2016 Board adopts redistricting guidelines and recommended community advisory committee
May 17, 2016 School Board presents first boundary scenario using this year's data. This is for informational purposes only.
September 2016 School Board provided update of the work of the advisory committee
October 2016 Public presentations made of redistricting plan (and any options)
Receive feedback from public
Opportunities at regular or Special Board meetings for public input
November 2016 Public Hearing
School Board discussion of plan, options, and feedback received
December 2016  Public Hearing
School Board adopts redistricting plan
January-April 2017 Administration meets with parent groups and starts the process of staff reassignments
August 2017  New schools open and division redistricting plan implemented
 

 

IMPACTS

Parents and students will be wondering if their elementary or middle school will be affected. 


This is a division-wide redistricting process and all elementary and middle schools will be impacted.


Beginning in the Fall of 2017, all elementary schools will be comprised of students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade.  Our middle schools will now house students from sixth grade through eighth grade.  The Harrisonburg City School Board, as well as everyone involved in the redistricting process, realizes that redistricting an entire school division is a very complicated process and that it will inevitably result in a period of disruption and/or disappointment for some families.   Harrisonburg City Public Schools will do its very best in trying to minimize the impact on students, and to ease transitions for families who must change school assignments.  Our goal is to facilitate a fair, open and transparent process that will lead to a balanced and equitable elementary population throughout our entire district. To this end, your participation and feedback during the process will be valued and appreciated.

 

Bluestone Elementary

Bluestone Elementary School will be located at 750 Garbers Church Road.  It is designed to accommodate 755 students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade.   This will be Harrisonburg’s largest elementary school. The school will be a state of the art learning facility, paying careful attention to energy conservation and student-centered learning.   Bluestone Elementary School was designed by VMDO Architects, which is a leading designer of  K-12 education facilties.

 

Elon W. Rhodes Early Learning Center

The Elon W. Rhodes Learning Center will be attached to the current Smithland Elementary School, providing nine Pre-K classrooms.  By removing nine Pre-K classes from the majority of our elementary schools, we free up needed space to house the additional students in grades K-5.  Smithland Elementary School will also house an additional two or three Pre-K classrooms within its building.   These additional classrooms located at Smithland Elementary School will bring the total number of Pre-K classrooms located on the Smithland property to 12. This will truly create an Early Learning Center for our youngest students.


LINKS

Weldon Cooper Enrollment Projections

School Board Guidelines

Construction Projects Update


QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

When will redistricting occur?

The new boundary lines will go into effect when school opens in the Fall of 2017.  In December of 2016, the School Board will adopt a redistricting plan and approve the final boundaries.

Will it impact my student?

It may, depending upon where you live in the city of Harrisonburg.  The boundary scenario selected may or may not impact where your child will attend school in the Fall of 2017.

Who decides where the lines are drawn?

A Redistricting Committee is reviewing all the boundary scenarios and will make a recommendation to the School Board in October of 2016.  The committee is comprised of teachers, administrators, school transportation officials and parents from all the current elementary schools. The School Board has the ultimate authority in adopting the new district boundaries.

How do you decide where the boundary lines will be drawn?

The School Board adopted guidelines in March of 2016 to help guide the process. Factors such as effective capacity at each school, equity, potential growth areas, location of our schools, transportation and specialized programs will all be considered when establishing school boundary lines.

What should I do if I have a question or concern?

The School Board will review the Redistricting plan in October and November of 2016 during the regular scheduled School Board meetings.  There will be opportunity to receive feedback from the public during those meetings.  There also may be special meetings to discuss the redistricting plan.  These meetings will be posted on the HCPS website.

When will I know where my student will be attending school?

The final redistricting plan will be approved in December 2016.  You should know where your child will attend school once that plan is adopted.