Below is a letter from Chrissie Coombs with her feelings about the Ravenwood Rezoning and thoughts about Williamson County School District’s long term planning. Please share your thoughts about this issue in the Williamson County School District Discussion Forum.
To live in Williamson County with children in public schools is to know firsthand, often repeatedly, the pains of rezoning. We have lived in Williamson County for ten years, sending four children to elementary, middle and high schools throughout the county. During that time, our family has attended a total of NINE schools. If you count the number of schools we were actually zoned/rezoned to, but may not been enrolled in, the number of schools jumps to THIRTEEN. (3 of those schools were added in a move across town, which we erroneously thought took us out of the ping-pong neighborhood we were in.)
We’re told 5 Year Zoning Plans are the goal, but since rezonings habitually target 100-200 students, and don’t seem to take into account the pace of development vs. how long it takes to get a new school from point A (the dot on the 5 Year Plan Map) to Point B (students in the classroom), the fix is often two years at best. It can’t be any more obvious when you look this proposed rezoning, than it will become pointless far sooner than the negative consequences of the first ripple effects even begin to spread. It strips away a handful of students from established neighborhoods, such as my own in Cool Springs East, while keeping the two highest selling new subdivisions in the county in the Ravenwood zone, thus ensuring the rezoned students, and those who will be siphoned out of Woodland each year (a ridiculous 40 students from each rising Freshman class), are making a sacrifice in vain when Ravenwood becomes overcrowded again almost immediately.
That is what upsets us the most. There is no point to it. There is no long range plan. The 5 Year Plans don’t work if the Planning Commission and the Central Office continue to play ping pong with the numbers and use any and every excuse to avoid the inevitable; building schools on time and where they are needed. I don’t believe the latest excuse we were given at the special session of the economy being the reason the East High School for Nolensville was cancelled when it should have been started this year. What better time to build a school than when hundreds of contractors need jobs and the demand for labor is down? It would be cheaper now than at any other time. Unless the Planning Commission has mismanaged the funds, or has decided we, and the taxpayers and voters of Nolensville, don’t deserve the new high school we’ve been waiting for, and instead would rather collect the interest while my children are singled out for a pointless rezoning.
I remember a 5 Year Plan for a middle school on Henpeck Lane. My son is a freshman at Ravenwood and will be rezoned to attend his 6th school under this proposal. When the Henpeck Middle School 5 Year Plan was announced we thought he would get to go to it. The Henpeck Middle School is still an empty lot of weeds. In a year or two, we can have a 10 year anniversary party of the announcement on the empty lot. Think about that Nolensville residents. You might want to weigh in on this rezoning and tabling of your high school construction this year. Sunset Elementary and Middle school age students may very well attend two or even three high schools before the Central Office gets done playing ping pong, and you may still be without a high school regardless of any 5 Year Plan.
Funds can be approved to add an 11 classroom wing onto Ravenwood to help accommodate us all. Portable classrooms will help with the rest and are better than a pointless rezoning while waiting for Nolensville’s high school to be built. In the meantime, any who aspire to run for the Planning Commission now is your chance to make a difference in Williamson county because there’s an election coming and this voter is ready for change in the status quo.
My neighbors and my family asked the Board members who graciously met with us at the special session last night to reconsider this band-aid solution as it neither serves us, the Nolensville residents, nor the Ravenwood High School; it is a true Lose-Lose-Lose proposal. We thank the Board members for their time and willingness to review the proposal in depth. We ask that they allow Mr. Looney the opportunity to do the job he’s been hired to do and provide his leadership and input before bringing any proposed rezoning to a vote.