Petition Seeks to Delay Construction of Nokesville K-8, Favoring Avendale Elementary and Middle Schools
“On June 13, 2012, the School Board will be presented with the bids for the Nokesville K to 8 School,” begins the petition. “Please vote NO on these bids and delay the construction of the Nokesville K to 8 School until all options are considered and citizens concerns are addressed.”
The nonprofit organization CARE PWC (Citizens for Accountability and Reform in Education), led by Tracy Conroy and Dyanne Liga, created the petition. Conroy is also the administrator of the Our Schools site.
CARE does not oppose the replacement of the Nokesville Elementary School.
However they are questioning the logic of spending $28 million, on construction costs alone, for a K to 8 School that will provide 100 seats per grade level.
On the Our School’s site, Conroy refers to it as a “band-aid,” to the seating problem; because according to Prince William County student projections, after the building of the K to 8 School, Marsteller Middle School would still need one trailer by 2014 and two by 2018.
CARE is also questioning why a relatively large and expensive school is being built to house a relatively small student population.
“This school is 141,500 square feet and is larger than each of our middle schools and elementary schools. It is by no means a small building; it is very costly,” writes Conroy on Our Schools.
Conroy would prefer funds go towards building a school that would serve a greater number of students.
“For some reason it was determined that the K-8 would only hold 940 students, 40 of which will be special education students that will have to be reassigned from other schools.” Conroy said in an interview.
New middles schools in the county, such as Reagan, can hold over 1200 students, but the K to 8 school would barely hold more than an elementary school, which are now averaging 900 seats, CARE representatives explained.
Moreover, when the K to 8 was proposed in 2010, Prince William Schools projected that it would serve the Nokesville Elementary community alone.
However 2012 projections show that 50 percent of elementary and middle school students will need to be bussed in from Bristow communities to fill seats in the proposed school, and Brentsville Board Member Gil Trenum has expressed concern over which students to transfer into the Nokesville K to 8 District.
T. Clay Wood ES, which opened September 2011, has been built to house elementary students in neighborhoods closest to Nokesville Elementary. Therefore students attending the K to 8 probably will be bussed from even farther out in Bristow.
Conroy thinks parents might have a problem with this plan.
“People chose to move into a suburban neighborhood; not a rural area,” Conroy said, “That is where they want their children to attend school.”
Prince William County Schools has said that students could choose to transfer out of the school, but that choice may also leave them without transportation to and from school.
In addition developers of the new Avendale residential community have proffered land to build both a middle school and an elementary school.
For those reasons, CARE is proposing the School Board delay building the Nokesville K to 8 school and instead consider housing Nokesville and Avendale students in a newly built school on the Avendale property.
They believe building a full sized middle school would offerrelief to the overcrowding problems at Marsteller Middle School and Gainesville Middle School. Both schools would be at or below their capacity with additional seats available for future growth.
Another advantage of the Avendale site, according to Conroy, is that it is on the public water system, which is more thoroughly regulated through federal regulations.
CARE also questions what they consider to be an expedited decision to approve Nokesville Elementary on June 16 in 2010 which according to Conroy did not allow public comments after the presentation of the K through 8 and prior to the Board’s vote, because the idea was proposed and approved during the same meeting.
This accusation has been refuted by Brentsville District Board Member Gil Trenum.
CARE is determined to watch out for expedited agenda items, and try to slow down the School Board when it comes to important issues for which they feel citizens would like to speak out.
Although some citizens have questions the proposal of the Nokesville K to 8 School from the beginning, many Nokesville residents have expressed full support for the K to 8 School to serve their community.
© 2012, Copyright 2013 Bristow Beat LLC. All rights reserved.