Trenum Asks for More Transparency, Not New School Boundaries

| October 22, 2012 | 0 Comments | Education

Brentsville School Board representative addressed citizens at at Town Hall meeting held at Marsteller Middle School earlier this year.

Gil Trenum, Brentsville Magisterial District’s School Board Member, said he requested more information at last week’s School Board meeting in regards to school enrollment numbers to inform school board Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) decisions, not to rearrange school boundaries.

“As we continue having tighter and tighter budgets, it is important that we have this level of detail in order for the School Board to make the best decisions possible regarding our CIP,” Trenum told Bristow Beat. “The planning department will still make its projections using their attendance model, but I would like more information about the numbers and assumptions the model is using.”

Trenum had asked the Department of Planning and Financial Services for more information regarding enrollment by grade level at the Oct. 17 School Board Meeting.

He also asked School Board President Milt Johns to hold a closed session School Board Meeting in Nov. to discuss the their goals, so they can make their CIP decisions and present their recommendations to the Board of County Supervisors earlier than they have in previous years.

Trenum also recently teamed up with Gainesville District School Board Member Alyson Satterwhite to form an independent budget advisory committee. Trenum said the purpose of this committee would be a way to bring transparency to the budget process.

However, Trenum said that neither he nor the School Board is currently planning on requesting any boundary changes in the Brentsville District.

“There are no plans that I am aware of to make any boundary changes at either the high school or middle school level until the new schools are built.” But Trenum pointed out that there is relief for overcrowding already in progress.

“Marsteller Middle School will get approximately 300 seats of overcrowding relief in just two more years when the Nokesville K8 opens- four years ahead of when the next middle school is scheduled to be built,”he said.

Nor is Trenum asking for boundary changes at the high school level, where newer schools such as Patriot in Brentsville and Battlefield High School in the Gainesville District are over capacity, while other Brentsville District and Stonewall Jackson high schools are both under capacity.

“At the high school level we are still seeing the transition from the last boundary changes settle out,” Trenum said. “The overcrowding, while not as bad as it used to be, is still an issue and is a result of land use policies that encouraged residential development faster than the school division could keep pace. When the housing market slowed down we were able to make significant gains, especially at the elementary school level, but as the market rebounds we are going to be challenged to keep pace.”

Schools in the Brentsville District have undergone intense scrutiny over the last few years due to the rise of critical blogs and Facebook pages, as well as the controversy surrounding boundary issues in regards to Nokesville K-8 and Patriot High School as those schools have become highly desirable.

At the same time, citizens generally oppose redistricting efforts as they require students to be uprooted. Parents claim it undermines their children’s ability to establish stable friendships, adjust to their to learning environments and become part of a school community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2012, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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Category: Education

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