City Council to rule on school capacity and growth guidelines

Staff writer

As WJCC schools inch closer to meeting or exceeding their maximum capacity for students, City Council will consider guidelines for future growth at its regular monthly meeting this Thursday.

The body will vote on a resolution establishing guidelines for discussion, consideration and decision around additional school capacity, according to the meeting agenda. The resolution follows a joint meeting late last month between council, James City’s Board of Supervisors and the WJCC School Board.

According to the agenda item summary prepared by the city manager's office, five of nine WJCC elementary schools are past their maximum student capacity. In WJCC high schools, total capacity exceeds 95 percent.

The School Board recommended that governing bodies in Williamsburg and James City County pass resolutions outlining a series of steps to address the growing need for added space in schools.

The board recommends that when the student capacity at any elementary or secondary school reaches 85 percent, the school division will task its Long Range Planning Committee with evaluating needs and potential solutions. When that capacity reaches 90 percent, that same committee will prepare a plan of action, and the board will review current and projected student enrollment numbers to determine whether a more aggressive approach is necessary.

City Council also will vote on the EDA’s request for $15,000 to place string lights around one existing tree and 14 evergreens along Prince George Street, and will consider several resolutions at its regular monthly meeting this Thursday.

As EDA chairman Adam Steely explained at Monday’s work session, the $15,000 would go toward purchasing the 14 evergreens, along with battery-powered string lights. Six-thousand five-hundred dollars of the sum would go toward purchasing and installing lights on a large tree owned by William and Mary at the corner of Prince George and Boundary streets.

The potted evergreens would be placed along two blocks of Prince George Street between North Henry Street and Armistead Avenue, and could go up as early as next week. The temporary installation would be taken down March 1, if the funding request is approved.

City Council is expected to make board appointments to fill vacant positions on area boards. The body will vote to fill one position on the WJCC School Board, and five vacant positions on the recently created Tourism Development Grant Review Committee. The committee will review funding requests from groups looking to create tourism-drivers in the city. These projects will be funded using $2.1 million from an expected $2.5 million in tax revenue that the city expects to collect from SB 942.

Also on City Council’s public hearing docket are requests from Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools to amend a special-use permit for James Blair Middle School to include at 12 foot by 16 foot bike shed, and a text change to the city code that would require land owners to request special-use permits before eliminating parking spaces downtown.

Want to go?

Where: City Council Chambers, Stryker Center, 412 N. Boundary St.

When: 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13.

Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313 or on Twitter @rodrigoarriaza0.

Copyright © 2019, The Virginia Gazette
66°