Bedford Co. School Board Considering School Zone Changes

Bedford Co., VA - There could be 260 new kids in school next year in Bedford County under a redistricting plan being considered by the school board.

Many kids could get moved to different schools to alleviate overcrowding at three elementary schools and one middle school.

There is a public hearing Thursday at 6 p.m. before the regular school board meeting at the Bedford Science and Technology Center and another next week.

But some parents are already expressing concern. Passing Otter River Elementary School, Mandy Baber hears this question from 3-year-old Eden in the backseat:

"Is it this year, is it next year? When do I get to go?"

But with Eden not starting kindergarten until 2014, she might not get to go to the school that's only about a mile from her house.

A redistricting proposal, recommended by staff to the Bedford County School Board, would have Eden reporting to Bedford Primary on her first day of school.

"I built it specifically because Otter River is just right up the road, and I wanted to be convenient to my children's school," said Baber.

"It's very few that would be changing what we call graduation zones from Jefferson Forest to Liberty, it's around 75 students going," said Mark Blankenship.

Make that 78 if you count Eden and her little brothers.

But Blankenship, who drew up these potential new district maps, says a study counted the students already in school.

"They have a certain number of students they say will fit into our schools and we are above that number," he said.

Right now, kids who live on Centerville Road go to Otter River Elementary School. It's pretty much right around the corner. Under the new proposal, those same kids would go all the way out to Big Island Elementary.

Many people like Baber move to be in a certain school zone not for their kids to get moved around.

"I will be affected by it in the future. The decisions made now are gonna affect all of us in the future," said Baber.

Under the proposal recommended by staff to the board, children who are currently enrolled can stay at their current schools if their parents drive them there.

Any child entering kindergarten after this year would have to go to the school they are assigned to.