Crozet Elementary School PTO Takes on Enrollment Issues

Crozet Elementary School
Crozet Elementary School

The Crozet Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization formed a seven-person subcommittee in January to tackle the staffing cutbacks that will follow from the school’s sagging enrollment.

The school will see its resource teachers and librarian cut to half-time next year because its roll count has fallen to 287 students, below the 300 student threshold required for full-time teachers.

“We are under our capacity of 380,” said parent Ravi Respeto. “Our purpose is to reach out to the School Board and let them know that we are down 100 seats and Brownsville Elementary will reach its capacity in 2012. We could lose staffing of our specialty teachers. Redistricting would alleviate that problem.

“We don’t want to lose teachers who have longevity at Crozet Elementary. Potentially losing them makes a difference, a real difference. It will be hard to regain the ground that is lost as we wait for enrollment to go up.”

Respeto said the parents plan to meet with county school leaders Matt Haas and Billy Haun about the problem. They are inviting School Board members Barbara Massie Mouly and Ned Gallaway to an upcoming meeting of the PTO and they will speak before the School Board Feb. 9. “We want to introduce them to the facts as we know them,” said Respeto, “and how that exaggerates the disparity between the Crozet schools.

“Crozet Elementary is in a Growth Area. We expect to grow above 300 again. We’re getting support from young families who are concerned for their students. They don’t want to look at private schools.”

Respeto said the PTO noticed that school officials recently began the process of redistricting kids from overcrowded Hollymead Elementary to Baker-Butler Elementary, three miles away, which has empty seats.

Besides trying to draw official attention to the situation, the PTO is also researching bus routes and possible redistricting options. They are also trying to maintain communications with parents at Brownsville Elementary and to promote a “sister school” relationship.

[This story follows this article from the January Crozet Gazette.]