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Fired up parents sound off at hearing to redistrict Henrico middle schools

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. – Henrico parents were fired up Thursday evening during a public hearing concerning the first phase of a proposed redistricting process for Henrico middle schools.

The Henrico County School Board is proposing a two phase redistricting plan to alleviate overcrowding at Hungary Creek Middle School in Henrico's West End.

Right now there are two options on the table, but Thursday's meeting mainly dealt with phase one.

The first phase would go into effect for the 2017-2018 school year, and it would impact between 30-50 current 5th graders who would attend a school other than Hungary Creek.

School officials said no current middle or high school students will be moved to a new school zone in the first phase redistricting process.

At Thursday's hearing, dozens of parents said they were underwhelmed by both options -- and think the school board needs to go back to the drawing board.

“They're basically giving a short term solution to 2017 for phase one,” said Dr. John Gordon, whose daughter attends Echo Lake Elementary. “If we don't do some things differently, we'll have the same issues in 2018 all over again."

Other parents expressed concerns that the proposals only shuffles students around without actually solving the population expansion issue in the county.

Those parents called for the county to build more schools.

Andy Jenks, Henrico County Public Schools spokesperson, said Thursday’s meeting was a great opportunity to get parents more involved in the redistricting process.

“At this point, it's a very public process that relies on public input to get to a place where we all want to be, which is somewhere in the best interest of our students, communities and families.”

A second proposed phase would be more comprehensive, involving at least seven middle schools, and would take effect for the 2018-19 school year.

A public hearing on that phase is scheduled for April 6.

Find out more about proposed redistricting options here.