Crowd at School Board meeting previews issues involved in rezoning elementary schools


Crowd at School Board meeting previews issues involved in rezoning elementary schools

Many attendees at last week’s Williamson County Schools Board of Education meeting were from the Silver Stream subdivision, some wearing T-shirts as a show of solidarity. They are against rezoning plans affecting Mill Creek Elementary School. // Photo by John McBryde

By JOHN McBRYDE

Of the two neighborhood meetings the Williamson County Schools district is hosting this week on proposed rezoning plans, the one Thursday night could have a little more sizzle.

It’s being held at Nolensville Elementary School, where many students from Mill Creek Elementary would be rezoned to help ease overcrowding at the latter school. Tuesday night’s meeting will be at Oak View Elementary School on Henpeck Lane, and will focus on the rezoning plans as a result of the new elementary school opening on Gosey Hill Road later this year.

“The reaction that we’ve gotten from Nolensville has been a little more stark,” WCS Superintendent Mike Looney said.

Looney, his staff and school board members got a sense of that reaction during last week’s Board of Education meeting. The crowd in the auditorium of the Williamson County Administrative Complex building included several residents from the Silver Stream subdivision in Nolensville who were there to voice opposition to the district’s rezoning plan. Six of the residents publicly spoke against it, and they were backed by a sizable number of neighbors wearing blue Silver Stream T-shirts as a show of unity.

“Our concerns have nothing to do with school quality [at Nolensville],” said Jessica Stults, first of the speakers from Silver Stream. “It is our belief that rezoning Silver Stream is a short-term solution that puts more strain on transportation, creates less efficient and more dangerous traffic patterns, and results in fewer kids taking healthy routes to school.”

Looney later seemed to acknowledge the rezoning plan wasn’t a perfect solution.

“I want to be transparent and say we recognize that section of our community is growing exponentially, and this zoning doesn’t solve all the challenges we’ll be facing out there,” he said. “The reality is, we’re going to need a way to relieve College Grove, Trinity and another portion of Mill Creek, which would require an additional school strategically located where we could relieve those three schools in some appropriate way. We’re actively searching for property to do that.”

Meanwhile, Tuesday night’s meeting will look at the rezoning plan to accommodate the opening of the new school on Gosey Hill Road, which will be formally named later this year.

It is scheduled to open with the 2019-20 school year, and in the first year only Oak View Elementary students will attend. In its second year, the new school will bring in students from College Grove and Trinity elementary schools.

At both meetings, Looney will make a short introduction and presentation of the rezoning plan. Attendees can then meet with school board members who will be stationed throughout with maps and available for questions and dialogue.

The rezoning plan is expected to be voted on at the board’s next meeting, scheduled for Monday, Feb. 18. Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m., while Thursday’s gets underway at 6 p.m. Both will be held in the schools’ cafeterias.

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