Rezoning

My children go to Williamson County Schools. For the most part, we’re happy. Last Friday, the public was made aware of a broad rezoning proposal. This week, everyone (well, those affected) is going crazy about it. Since so many people are loudly stating their objection to the rezoning, I feel like I must publish my thoughts on the topic.

First, some context. We live in a little bit of a weird spot… 5 years ago, our first daughter, Aspen, got started at Edmonson Elementary. 3 years ago, we were rezoned to Lipscomb Elementary. Our experiences have been good. I’ve talked about some magical teachers on a few occasions. And now, in this latest proposal, we are being rezoned again, this time to Crockett Elementary. Do you know what my reaction is?

OK. Let’s go.

I have a huge problem with parents/groups/neighborhoods whose argument is simply, “You should move them, not me.” Yes, rezoning is inconvenient. It’s a little unnerving. Aspen had to leave her great friend Cassie behind at Edmondson. When rezoning came up again last week, she and Oakley were inquisitive. But we talked through it with them, and they’re prepared for whatever comes. Rezoning can be dealt with.

In making a decision like this, I think it’s fundamentally important to consider the collective good, not just your own position. Many people have complained about the frequent and repeated rezoning. I can understand that, and I can specifically relate to it. It is my opinion, though, that piecemeal rezoning of the past is precisely why rezoning is happening so regularly. Communities complain, the school board relents, and then they’re forced to reconsider zoning every year.

I’m quite certain that each and every reader of this blog has had to reboot their computer a time or two. The school board tried to make a small fix last year, a community objected and asked for more time. Well, this year, I think the school board is looking to “reboot” the zoning, and I think they’re right to do it. It’s time to get the foundation of the zoning straightened out.

The school board asked a company with expertise in this specific area to solve the problem as best they could. They asked them to take a long view. And this proposal is what they came up with. We can argue about the parameters of the problem… (Personally, I think feeder schools should have been a requirement, and not optional. I don’t love that my daughters’ elementary school will be split come middle school.) We can also argue about the logic of certain aspects of the solution. (Have they really minimized average distance to school across the population? I bet they’ve done quite well on that.) But I don’t think arguing that “we shouldn’t have to move” really holds water.

I have one further concern. I read today in the Brentwood Homepage that the board is going to “apply local knowledge” to the proposal. Frankly, that sounds slimy to me. What does “local knowledge” mean? Why should one community’s desire to stay at a certain school override the desires of another community? I know it sounds draconian, but I think the board would be better off to sequester themselves, question the logic of the proposal, and then decide for it. I suspect that the school board members will cost themselves reelection, but some school board, at some point, will have to make things right… And I think now is the right time to “reboot” the zoning, or rip off the band-aid, or whatever. Let’s just get on with it.

Lastly, much credit goes to Jenn here… The attitude you take with your kids on this will have a massive impact. If you are accepting and reasonable, your kids will be too. If you believe it’s a disaster, then they will too. Think about your attitude starting right now, ’cause I’m guessing a lot of you are headed to new elementary schools in about 11 months.

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