School Board approves combination redistricting plan

Call it an adjustment to an adjustment.

The Henrico County School Board last night adopted boundaries for the new Kaechele Elementary School in Short Pump by creating a compromise plan that implements portions of two existing proposals. The board unanimously approved adoption of the new plan, which generally uses the portion of Option 2 north of West Broad Street and the portion of Option 1 (Adjusted) south of West Broad Street.

The compromise addresses concerns expressed by residents during a public hearing and online survey in the past week, Board Chair Diana Winston said. The plan, which Winston proposed during a work session several hours before the vote, will keep all elementary schools in the county beneath capacity, except for Ridge Elementary. Ridge's boundaries will remain unchanged for now – something that a number of Ridge parents had requested – so that the board can consider other ways to address its needs separately in the future.

The adopted plan will move about 1,300 elementary school students to new schools in the fall, including a projected 425 to Kaechele. In all, the boundaries of 14 elementary schools have been shifted.

Colonial Trail, Davis, Longan and Short Pump elementaries all will receive population relief as part of the redistricting plan. Rising fourth- and fifth-graders at all schools will be permitted to complete elementary school at their current schools if parents provide transportation, while no current middle-school students will be affected by the changes.

The compromise plan "really provides a balance for relief and seems like a no-brainer," Brookland District board member Beverly Cocke said during the work session.

Adoption of the compromise moves a group of students from the Hampshire neighborhood from Rivers Edge Elementary to Shady Grove Elementary but keeps them together at Holman Middle School (which Hampshire students currently attend). The result will cause Holman to be at 101 percent of its capacity next year, while Pocahontas Middle also would be near capacity. Board members discussed a desire to relieve crowding at both schools by creating new course offerings at Short Pump Middle School, which is projected to be at just 73 percent of capacity next year.

Forty-one residents of the Hampshire neighborhood responded to an online survey offered Dec. 10-12 through the school system's website to gauge opinions on Option 1 (Adjusted ) – the most respondents from any neighborhood.

Superintendent Pat Russo told the board that his staff would work to devise possibilities that might pull 200 or more students to Short Pump Middle from other middle schools.

Option 1 (Adjusted) was created earlier this week to address concerns vocalized by citizens at a Dec. 6 public hearing about the redistricting issue. Among other changes, that version recommended moving several pockets of students back into the boundaries of elementary schools that they currently attend.

To view the adopted redistricting map, click here: http://tinyurl.com/br4fbyo
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Community

project:HOMES’ ‘Renew Crew’ helps Henrico citizen


The project:HOMES "Renew Crew" (above) recently assisted an elderly member of the Laurel Presbyterian Church in Henrico by clearing brush, trimming hedges and raking leaves in her yard.

The Renew Crew serves low-income, disabled and elderly homeowners in need of small-scale home repairs such as porch, railing and step repairs, exterior painting, clearing overgrown yards, tearing down outbuildings, wheelchair ramps and other critical repairs and accessibility modifications. > Read more.

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More than 2,000 people participated in the the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Chapter's annual Richmond Walk to End Alzheimer’s Nov. 5 at Markel Plaza in Innsbrook. The event raised more than $436,000 for Alzheimer’s care, support programs and research.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


The past couple of days haven’t felt like it, but it’s finally December and this weekend is packed with holiday events. Kicking the weekend off is Glorious Christmas Nights’ production of “Finding Christmas” at West End Assembly of God. Gayton Baptist Church’s annual Jazz Nativity starts tonight. Another annual favorite is tomorrow – the tree lighting at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. In search of Christmas concerts? The Virginians Barbershop Chorus will present its annual Christmas Show tomorrow at the Collegiate School and the Richmond Choral Society will perform Sunday at Trinity Lutheran Church. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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The Weinstein JCC will host a Book Fair event with author Bill Lascher at 11 a.m. He will discuss his book “Eve of a Hundred Midnights.” The book tells the gripping account of two married journalists – the grandson of Hollywood real estate pioneer Joseph Stern and a former MGM scriptwriter – who together endured bombs in wartime China and were chased by Japanese forces across the Pacific during WWII. Admission is free. For details, call 285-6500 or visit http://www.weinsteinjcc.org. Full text

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