Byrd Park Still Divided by School Zoning Plans

From the looks of the new school zoning proposals released by RPS, John B. Cary elementry is still slated to be closed, Byrd Park is still likely to be divided, and most of the scenarios have our neighborhood routed to the elementary school that (let’s be honest) is least appealing option. Let’s find out more from education correspondent, Heidi Powell Thompson of Rosewood Ave.

Hello everyone,

Even if you don’t have children in the schools, this is an important issue because the proposed school zoning changes could potentially affect property values in our neighborhood. Please feel free to forward this email to anyone in the Byrd Park Neighborhood.

The latest revisions of the draft school rezoning maps have been released in advance of the next Community Meeting, scheduled for March 27, 6:30-7:30 at John Marshall High School. Here is the link to the maps:

These maps are even more fun to read than the last set, so below is a summary. I’m only focusing on elementary schools in this email, but you can check out the maps to see middle and high school zoning, too.

In Pairings A and B, our neighborhood remains divided at Shields, with the westernmost blocks closest to the Fountain Lake being zoned for Fox Elementary, and the easternmost blocks closest to Meadow being zoned for Clark Springs Elementary.

In Pairings C and D, our entire neighborhood gets zoned for Clark Springs Elementary.

I will continue to follow this issue and plan to attend the March 27 Community Meeting. If there is another online survey or organized opportunity for people to make their voices heard I will definitely share that information as well, and would encourage people to attend the Community Meeting, write letters, etc. Many neighbors that I have had conversations, emails and blog exchanges with about this topic have indicated a strong preference for Fox Elementary. In full disclosure that would be my strong preference for our neighborhood as well, but I would also like to have our neighborhood unified at Fox, adhering to the natural neighborhood boundary line of Meadow rather than being split on the small side street of Shields. However, that would mean that the children currently attending Clark Springs in our neighborhood would have to switch schools to Fox, and I know that keeping kids in their same schools when possible is a guiding principle of the rezoning committee as well.

Another issue to be aware of is that in all of the rezoning options, multiple elementary schools in the city are to be closed, which will mean more pressure on the lottery system that many people rely on to get their kids into particular schools in the city. If your children are already in an out of zone school via the lottery system, RPS has not yet announced how they plan to handle enrollment (ie, no guarantee at this time that your children will be grandfathered into the school they got into via the lottery system) so that is something to be aware of, too.

Heidi Powell Thompson

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