Frederick County, Va. - Some parents and students aren't too thrilled about the Frederick County School Board's passing of rezoning initiative Option B in a 4-3 vote on January 7, 2014 displacing 247 elementary students, about six percent overall, in the district.
"It’s almost like they looked at a map with no streets on it, because it makes no sense whatsoever," said John Nokes, father of a second grader at Greenwood Mill Elementary.
Under Option B, 44 students from Apple Pie Ridge will head to Gainesboro, and another 25 will go to Indian Hollow. Officials say 47 students from Armel will attend Orchard View and 131 students at Greenwood Mill Elementary will be rezoned eight miles away to Evendale.
"I was sad because I would be far away from my friends in a different neighborhood,” said second grader, Kacie Nokes. “I was like why did they have to do this?"
Along with forming a petition and presenting their concerns to the board, parents against Option B worked together to create an alternative option, dubbed Option C2.
They say it displaces even less children, and saves tax payers even more money that either options presented by the rezoning committee.
The school board considered two options presented by the rezoning committee before making a decision last week, but seemed to only have glanced at Option C2.
They say they didn't get answers as to why their proposal was insufficient, and that their local neighborhood - which they say has been rezoned 4 times since some of the families have lived there - is now completely divided.
The school board considered leaving The Nokes’s neighborhood untouched, but in the end, in a 3-4 vote, they did not pass the proposed amendment.
"There are students that live four to five miles from Greenwood Mill that are going to stay at Greenwood Mill. We live 1.2 miles from greenwood mill, and are being forced to move 8.9 miles away from our home," said Cheryl Maggard, a mother of a third grader at Greenwood Mill.
"I looked at the C2 plan - it certainly seems to be more efficient fuel wise, more efficient time wise," Nokes said.
They say some bus rides will almost triple in length, and they've lost property value due to the rezoning.
"This whole neighborhood on this side of Senseny, our resale value has gone down,” Nokes said. “If we have to sell for some reason and a young family comes in here, are they going to by a house that you have to drive 25 minutes to go to school?"
Parents say now their children have to drive past one elementary school to get to another. Despite their outreach, now that the board has voted, they have little hope that the decision can be reversed or revised.
Under Option B, rising fifth graders are allowed to stay at their current schools, as long as their parents can provide them with transportation.