Friday, January 20, 2017
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Williamson County Taxpayers Against Rezoning

It’s not just parents, it’s now Williamson County taxpayers who are concerned with the proposed WCS school rezoning.

After having a full page Sunday ad rejected by the Tennessean, Williamson County taxpayers have created a website in an attempt at preventing a rushed rezoning vote by the Williamson County School Board.

A rezoning petition created last week respectfully asking for more time had 874 signatures as of this morning.

The big question is, how will the Williamson County School rezoning affect real estate and home values?

Below is text from the website

Williamson County Schools- The Parents and Taxpayers of Williamson County Have Some Questions for You:

  • What is the Hurry?
    • Williamson County Schools Central Office (WCSCO) is creating a plan for the Board of Education to vote on that will affect all citizens of our county for the next five years; shouldn’t they spend the time to ensure that they get it right?
    • We are told that the process was begun last spring, but much of the time was spent in simple data entry into the Edulog Software program, not in analysis.
    • New plans and proposals are rushed out with lightning speed as new facts are “discovered,” with WCSCO staff working up to 18 hour days and weekends…why?  Get a good night’s sleep, get the facts and come up with an equitable, effective, long term plan.
    • ALL the children of Williamson County deserve access to a quality education with a minimum of disruption.  Thousands of children are still adversely affected by the current zoning proposal.
    • The five year zoning plan shows that new schools are necessary, why rezone now only to have to rezone again in two years?  WCSCO has even begun preparing for that future rezoning. Why rezone all at once instead of rolling out in phases?
  • Why is WCSCO creating a rezoning plan when they haven’t finished the seven year strategic plan?
    • The County Commission has required WCSCO and the Board of Education to develop a Strategic Plan to guide the schools for the next seven years.  School officials have asked for an extension until January, they plan to vote on rezoning this week.
    • If there isn’t an overall strategic plan with approved funding, why disrupt students now?
  • Why spend $98,501 on a software program if it’s not going to be used properly?
    • The WCSCO invested in a software program, “Edulog,” to impartially facilitate a county-wide rezoning.
    • Parents and taxpayers were told that the goal was to put an end to  spot zoning and take an impartial look at the entire county.
    • Parents are now informed that the data was set up to “affect as few students as possible, or otherwise the plan would be politically impossible to get passed.”  This is not impartial.
    • The first zoning proposal based on Edulog results was an embarrassment to the county.  Students were moved from one school to another simply because the zoning line looked better on a map or were zoned to schools that appeared close to a neighborhood on the map, but with no actual roads to connect them.
    • Edulog also didn’t differentiate between areas in the county with different growth rates.  Built out areas of Brentwood were given the same growth value as rapidly-expanding Nolensville.
    • The latest proposal still doesn’t recognize areas with zero or declining growth.
  • Why hasn’t WCSCO rerun Edulog using the parameter that is most important to parents (and homebuyers): Proximity?
    • Parents and some Board of Education members were shocked and dismayed to find out that proximity to schools was third on the list of factors fed into the program;
    • Ignoring proximity increases transportation costs and creates uncertainty in home buying.
  • Why hasn’t WCSCO rerun Edulog using the parameter most important student well being, equitable feeder patterns?
    • Some children will be split from their classmates to attend different middle schools AND be split again to attend different high schools
    • Studies have shown that if you split a class of rising 9th graders so that a small group is isolated, that group will have lower grades – See State University of New York study on “Effects of Feeder Patterns on Student’s Transitions to High School”
    • The children of Cool Springs East will be part of a tiny contingent of 40 kids going from Woodland Middle to Centennial High School while hundreds of their friends go to Ravenwood.
    • Sullivan Farms students go to Winstead Elementary School, and then either Page Middle School or Hillsboro School and then splitting again to Page or Centennial high schools.
  • Why won’t WCSCO allow parents/taxpayers to take a proactive role in the rezoning process, rather than reacting to plans devised in secret?
    • Director of Schools Mike Looney said, his staff had been cloistered in a “cave” where they were only let out for “bathroom breaks.” Williamson Herald
    • Why the need for secrecy?
    • Other Tennessee school districts have included parents in decisions, including appointing a Citizen Advisory Board to take the lead in creating the rezoning plan and actively accepting and listening to parent feedback.
    • How many hours that were spent by the staff of the WCSCO in damage control (paid for by the taxpayers) could have been avoided if a Citizen Advisory Board had been created?
    • When the parents were allowed input via a telephone poll, 46.7% voted against plans that were similar to the plan currently on offer, “none of the above” received the highest vote of the choices. This figure includes parents who are not even directly affected.
  • Why is WCSCO creating inequity in real estate values?
    • The latest proposal draws a 0.5 mile radius around elementary schools and a 1 mile radius around middle and high schools.  If you live within these zones, you are guaranteed not to be rezoned;
    • If you live outside of the “Magic Circle,” the best WCSCO can offer is that your child won’t be rezoned more than 5 times in their educational career(see 5-4-3 plan below);
    • Homeowners within the Magic Circle will be able to use that as a selling point;
    • Using magic ignores science- the Meade of Avalon is within Ravenwood’s 1 mile radius but they’re magically zoned to Centennial, five miles away.
  • Why is WCSCO willing to bus kids dozens of extra miles per day?
    • Who is going to pay for increased transportation costs, especially if gas prices rise?
    • A student from West Franklin will travel an EXTRA 2,880 miles per school year than under current zoning.
    • A child from the recently closed Pinewood school, who two years ago was formerly zoned to Hillsboro Elementary Middle School will travel 80 minutes to school EACH way to Fairview Elementary.
  • Why have the taxpayers paid for schools to be located in areas where they are impossible to fill?
    • The new high school, Summit, is built flush up against a county line, meaning that it can only draw students from two directions, rather than all sides.  This school will either remain under capacity or be populated by children from distant homes.
    • Ravenwood High School was built in such a location that makes it impossible to draw enough kids into Centennial.
  • Why won’t WCSCO look at creative solutions to fill their unfillable schools, rather than bus unwilling students to them?
    • Add magnet programs to these schools
      • Parents would pay for their own transportation
    • Rent space to a community college to house the dual-credit courses the schools already offer.
  • Why doesn’t WCSCO slow down and recheck their data before making a decision?
    • How did they manage to misplace 200 seats at Centennial?  Over the years, schools have been altered and modified, apparently no one was keeping track;
    • How did they manage to misplace seats at the new Summit High School – it hasn’t even opened yet and the capacity has been reduced by 129 seats as a part of various rezoning  plans released by WCSCO!
    • The Middle School enrollment projections vary wildly between the plans presented in the last few weeks, by over 200 students in one year alone;
    • Some real estate developments that were used to calculate growth are actually in foreclosure, where did they get their figures?
  • Why create 3 and Me, Express Buses and 5-4-3 plans?  Why not create an equitable plan to begin with?
    • 3 and Me allows a rezoned high school kid to invite 3 friends from her current school to join them at their new school
    • The voluntarily rezoned kids will have to be driven to and from their friend’s house each day.  They will be ineligible to participate in sports for a season.  This does not realistically benefit kids getting zoned out of a desirable school or out of their community school (see Express Bus below).  They will still start their new school knowing no one.
    • The Express Bus idea is to reduce the time students spend on a bus.  A kid from a large neighborhood who has to travel more than 10 miles to school will have a bus that makes no stops outside their neighborhood.
      • Many crowded neighborhoods already fill a bus enough to not have stops outside their neighborhood
      • No student should ever have to travel over 10 miles if there is  school  in their own community;
    • The 5-4-3 guarantee states that a child in elementary school will not be rezoned more than 5 times during their 1-12 school years.  Is 4 an acceptable number?  Why not develop a rational plan for rezoning that makes this guarantee obsolete?  The 5-3-1 plan will scare potential home buyers.
  • Does the current plan achieve WCSCO’ main goal of utilizing capacity and being proactive in anticipating new needs?
    • Why is Williamson County moving students from undercapacity Grassland Middle School to overcapacity Hillsboro Elementary Middle School?  Has this ever been done in the history of education?
    • The High schools were designed with enough common areas, lockers and dining capacities to add additional classrooms, wouldn’t it make sense to do that to keep children in their communities until new high schools could be built, if necessary?

The WCSCO has presented their rezoning plan to the Williamson County Board of Education.  Ask the Williamson County Board of Education to REJECT the proposed rezoning plan.

  • Taxpayer

    The Williamson County Board of Equalization is comprised of five members elected by the Board of Commissioners. They meet annually to hear appeals involving real and personal property valuation issues. Please contact the Property Assesors office at (615)790-5708 to find out when they meet.

    Members of the Board of Equalization
    Chairman James Allen
    Secretary Emil L. Mongeon
    Member Ennis Wallace
    Member Owen Reese
    Member Jeff Jeffery