Charlottesville School Board Considering Elementary School Expansion

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Charlottesville City School Board Charlottesville City School Board

The Charlottesville City School Board is considering plans to build new school facilities to accommodate recent growth.

The superintendent's office says the city's elementary schools are currently above functional capacity. Former board member, Dede Smith, says it's because 294 non-resident students currently attend Charlottesville schools. 

In 2016 the school board hired the firm VMDO Architects to come up with a plan for dealing with the school's recent growth. The elementary schools have turned closets into classrooms to accommodate students. The board is considering either constructing additions at three elementary schools or building a new elementary school.

Currently non-resident students pay around $1,000 to attend city schools. The superintendent's office says that money helps fund some of the school's distinguished programs. 

"The school system has, especially recently, but really for the past couple decades, aggressively recruited non-resident students and now have close to 300 in our school system and so this expansion includes those students,” said Dede Smith, a former school board member.

"Our need for expansion has really been driven on our residential growth and the programs that we have and that we're offering. It’s not at all being driven by out-of-district students,” said Charlottesville School Board Chair Juandiego Wade.

Wade says the school board is trying to be as transparent as possible about the plans for expanding the schools, and hopes to have a plan in place by the end of February.

There are still two opportunities for public opinion on the expansion: one on January 23 at Mount Zion First African Baptist Church and another on January 31 at Charlottesville High School.

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