Are these the only scenarios that are being considered?
These scenarios are simply a starting point. When this process is complete, and after we’ve received the community’s feedback, it is very likely that some hybrid of these scenarios (or other options) may be the final decision. Since this is such an important decision, your feedback is critical.
How did you come up with these scenarios?
LCS partnered with educational consulting group MGT of America, which is an educational consulting firm. They came up with the scenarios after studying the school system’s data and collecting feedback from our community earlier in the spring. Based on that information, MGT developed scenarios that help us accomplish our goals of providing the best possible instructional resources in an efficient school setting while caring deeply for children and staff.
Why are we even considering any of this?
Simply, many of the buildings in our school system are rapidly aging and, as a result, we need to make investments. Since we have fewer elementary aged children now compared to prior years, shifting our resources might make some sense so that we best utilize our resources. This would allow us to provide the best educational and instructional opportunities with the resources we have. However, before any decisions are made, we want community feedback first.
Where will staff go if closures happen?
Generally, staff will be reassigned in the division. Because there is typically enough turnover in the system due to retirements and other reasons, there will likely be plenty of room to make reassignments.
If X schools closes, where will my child attend?
Right now, it’s too early to tell—it depends on if close to home zoning is enacted or not, what other schools are changed, and a number of factors. Once a final path is chosen, LCS will conduct its rezoning process.
Why aren’t the middle and high schools addressed in these scenarios?
The final master plan will include recommendations for the middle and high schools. They are fairly straightforward, though—mostly improvements to the facilities, investment in CTE options, etc. We are talking about elementary schools now because there are lots of challenging decisions and many different paths we could take.
When will the changes proposed here take effect?
The earliest we would make any changes would be the 2024-25 school year. We will know our precise implementation timeline once a final path is chosen.
How will the final decision be made?
The School Board, with input from City Council, will make the final decision. We anticipate that this will occur during the fall of 2023.
Doesn’t “close to home zoning” really mean segregation?
A careful rezoning process could actually result in more diverse schools than we already have. Additionally, close to home zoning would facilitate parent and family involvement in their child’s school.
What does that scenario do to keep class sizes small?
LCS is still committed to small class sizes, especially in early grades. The class size guidance is different from school to school, as determined by VDOE guidelines.
Is this all about saving money?
No, our first and most important consideration is teaching and learning, but money is an important consideration. By more efficiently using the resources we have (school buildings, staff, funds, etc.) we can provide a better instructional program for students with the resources we have.
How would this affect parents’ options for educating their students?
LCS is committed to providing choices to parents. Special programs such as the schools for innovation, G.O. Center, and other programs will still be offered. Additionally, since some of these scenarios would likely result in a more streamlined system, resources could be better utilized to provide special opportunities to more children.
What happens to the special program at my child’s school (schools of innovation, for instance)?
If a school of innovation closes, those programs would be combined into one or more other elementary schools. In fact, they may even be available in more schools than they are now.
Why is X school being considered for closure or repurposing?
There are several factors that play into the potential scenarios, such as the existing building’s condition, efficiency and utilization, location, transportation, and others. This takes into account a variety of factors that impact our students and our effective use of resources.