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Augusta School Board to Redraw Boundary Lines - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Augusta School Board to Redraw Boundary Lines

Posted: Updated: Feb 7, 2013 05:34 PM EST

After more than a year of study and debate, the Augusta County School Board will redraw boundary lines Thursday night.

The decision affects hundreds of families from a half-dozen elementary schools, and some of those families do not want the change.

The closure of Ladd Elementary School will displace about 350 students. That's the catalyst for redistricting in the eastern half of Augusta County. Nearby Wilson Elementary School is being expanded to accommodate hundreds more kids, but some parents say the plan is shortsighted.

The money-saving move to close Ladd has created the challenge of where to move all its students. The Augusta School Board is likely to approve a plan that moves 100 of them to the already-full Cassell Elementary School, and in turn, move 100 Cassell kids to Wilson. Dozens of affected families say the plan makes no sense.

"The problem is that we very well might have to transfer these kids back later, as the Fishersville area continues to grow," said Tom Shepherd, a Cassell Elementary School parent.

County planners said the Wilson Elementary School area has about 1,800 residential units already approved for development. Wilson is undergoing a major expansion that would leave room for another 110 students, even after taking those from Cassell.

The alternative is to allow Cassell to swell 100 students above capacity, requiring several more classroom trailers.

"It's hard to take 100 kids from Ladd and put them into an over-packed school, and have them be happy with that," said school board member Tim Quillen.

But Shepherd and some of his neighbors point out that Cassell is a pod school, where students are already used to going outside to switch classes or visit the cafeteria.

He says a smarter move would be to accelerate plans to expand both schools.

"We feel like this is kind of a done deal at this point. But we also want to let them know that you are elected, and you can be un-elected at the same time," Shepherd said.

The Augusta County School Board will decide between the two boundary line plans at its meeting Thursday night. It's set for 7 p.m., at the Government Center in Verona.

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