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2018-04-11 / Front Page

School Board approves redistricting plans, gifted expansion

By Rich Griset STAFF WRITER

At its business meeting Tuesday, the Chesterfield County School Board approved the redistricting of more than 300 middle school students, expansion of its middle school Center Based Gifted offerings and a contract for four new custodial service providers.

With a renovated Providence Middle set to come online this fall and a newly built Manchester Middle slated to open fall of 2020, the school system is looking to balance its student populations. Providence currently has 847 students, but after the renovation will have capacity for 1,101, allowing it to accommodate approximately 250 additional students. Meanwhile, the new Manchester will have less capacity when it opens. The new school will be able to accommodate 1,104 students, down from its current 1,405, meaning roughly 300 students will need to shift to other schools in 2020.

On Tuesday, the School Board voted to move approximately 183 rising sixth- through eighth-grade students from Manchester to Providence from the neighborhoods of Ashley Village, Manchester Heights, Marlboro, Newberry Towne, Rollingwood Estates Apartments, Southern Square, Stevens Hollow and Walmsley Townhouses.

Gifted program expands

The School Board also approved an expansion of its Center Based Gifted program sites, anticipating increased demand from its efforts to increase identification of underrepresented students. The board opted for a plan which creates new sites at Swift Creek and Carver middle schools. Students zoned for Tomahawk Creek Middle will attend the CBG site at Swift Creek, and students zoned for Elizabeth Davis Middle will attend the CBG site at Carver Middle. Students from Bailey Bridge Middle will attend the site at Matoaca Middle.

The plan includes a two-year phase-in, with a new CBG program site opening at Swift Creek Middle this fall for rising sixth-graders only. Rising sixth-graders zoned to attend Swift Creek or Tomahawk middle schools during the 2018-19 school year will now attend Swift Creek as their CBG school.

Students in CBG at Manchester Middle who are zoned for Bailey Bridge Middle will continue to attend Manchester. Students in CBG at Matoaca Middle whose zoned school is Salem Middle will continue attending Matoaca.

The CBG site at Carver will open for the 2019-20 school year, with further details to be approved in the future following a transportation study.

New janitorial contract

The School Board approved awarding a contract to four custodial contractors to the tune of $11.6 million. Previously, the School Board began outsourcing its custodial services during the 2014-15 school year in the hopes of saving money that could be redirected to the classroom. While the effort saved money, the schools weren’t being cleaned to the level the school system had hoped.

Now, four companies have been approved to handle night production cleaning at 65 buildings as part of the school system’s new custodial services program. Atalian Aetna Integrated Services, ABM Industry Groups LLC, L.T. Services Inc. and American Facility Services Inc. will share the contract.

Beulah redistricting

Earlier in the day, the School Board received presentations regarding redistricting Beulah Elementary at its work session. Tim Bullis, school system spokesman, explained that the replacement for Beulah will have the capacity for 934 students when it opens in the fall, higher than its current enrollment of 739 students.

Redistricting would help balance school enrollments, create efficiencies in busing, develop cleaner feeder patterns for schools and have other benefits, Bullis explained. The school system proposes moving 166 students to Beulah, and 164 students from Beulah to Hopkins.

If approved, the move would transfer 99 students from Hopkins to Beulah, 44 from Ecoff Elementary to Beulah, 23 students from Salem Church to Beulah in the neighborhoods of Hilmar, Mason Woods, Parker Estates, Summertree, Willowhurst, Oakmon and Kingland Woods. The 164 students moved from Beulah to Hopkins would come from the neighborhoods of Cedar Acres, Cedar Heights, Dalebluff Manor, Meadowdale and Ravensdale.

The school system will hold parent meetings about the proposal in the coming week. On April 11, families of students being transitioned to Beulah from Hopkins, Ecoff and Salem Church are invited to attend a meeting at Beulah at 6:30 p.m. On April 16, families of students being transitioned to Hopkins from Beulah are invited to attend a meeting at Hopkins at 6:30 p.m.

“No matter what the scale, redistricting can be disruptive to a lot of families,” noted John Erbach, School Board chair and Dale District representative. “I think it’s important for members of the community to hear transparently about this.”

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