Many Mountain View Elementary fifth grade parents concerned over possible shift to Walton Middle

Mountain View Elementary will be hosting Colts Care this year.
Mountain View Elementary will be hosting Colts Care this year.(WVIR)
Published: May. 27, 2021 at 7:24 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - In Albemarle County, many Mountain View Elementary parents are frustrated. There is a possibility over 100 soon-to-be fifth graders could be pulled out of elementary school and shipped off to Walton Middle School.

There are currently around 40-50 Mountain View fifth graders going to school at Walton Middle right now. This is due to crowding issues. Mountain View Elementary is about 100 students over-capacity, so every morning students bus over to Walton for a different type of learning experience.

The school district says this seemed like the best option as opposed to children learning in trailers and hallways, but many parents disagree.

“The transition has not gone smoothly despite what they want us to believe. It is, it’s a really long day for a 10 year old,” Leti Perez, a parent of a fifth grader who was sent from Mountain View to Walton Middle. “The whole Walton experience... it’s too much to ask for a kid that age.”

Perez says it has taken a toll on her son, both mentally and emotionally. The Walton fifth graders are put on a middle school schedule which is two hours longer.

“If you have a kid that’s exhausted because they’re not emotionally and mentally ready to be in a longer school day, how are they going to focus on their studies?” mother Jenn McArtor said.

McArtor is the mother of a Mountain View fourth grader. She says, because of the longer school day, her daughter will lose access to after-school programs.

“For a school district that constantly talks about equity, that doesn’t feel very equitable to our kids,” she said.

“I know emotions are strong, that’s understandable,” ACPS Spokesperson Phil Giaramita said. “If we had a magic wand, we would change the size of the school overnight and not move any children, but we don’t have a magic wand.”

Giaramita says they are getting mixed reviews about the “Walton experience.”

“I think it is pretty clear in the last couple of weeks we haven’t done as good a job as we should have in communicating with parents,” he said.

Wednesday night, ACPS met with parents virtually to go over the options.

“Right now the most likely option is for them to go to Walton,” Giaramita said. “Some of the parents have been saying, ‘We don’t want our children to be shortchanged their full elementary school career’ and we don’t either.”

Parents like McArtor and Perez want ACPS to take a deeper dive before coming to a decision.

“What is the compromise? How can we meet in the middle?” McArtor asked. “It seems to be a very ‘either-or’ situation when I think there’s a lot of gray space that things could be maybe met in the middle that haven’t been explored.”

Giaramita says a final decision will not be made for another two months but they expect a lot of feedback at upcoming school board meetings.

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