School rezoning in Suffolk could expand to entire city

The Suffolk School Board is in the process of discussing a possible rezoning.

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — There’s more rezoning on a school board agenda, this time in Suffolk. With two new schools set to open, the Suffolk School Board plans to rezone the northern section of the city. But, the school board may look at re-zoning the entire city.

In the northern end of Suffolk, you’ll see construction on a new school. Florence Bowser Elementary school is set to open in September of next year in a section of the city that school officials say needs it.

“So those schools are getting more crowded,” said Bethanne Bradshaw of Suffolk Schools.

Bradshaw said Driver Elementary students and some students from Creekside Elementary could attend the new school, but before the lines of redistricting are drawn, input is necessary.

“There hadn’t been any proposals on the table,” Bradshaw said. “We are getting their input before the staff gets into the nitty gritty.”

Before Thursday night’s school board meeting, Suffolk Schools wanted to hear opinions from parents, like Nicola Smith-Wilson.

“I want all my children to go to school with all their friends,” Smith-Wilson said. “I want them to go to a school that is accredited.”

The only problem is, she was the only parent who spoke.

“It’s a big deal and I’m shocked that it’s empty in there,” she said.

However, the next rezoning input meeting may not be so deserted.

“They’ve also asked our staff to come back in December with an option for: do we need to look at city-wide rezoning?” Bradshaw said.

Nicola said she’ll be back and she hopes others will follow.

“Hopefully more of them will attend and I will keep coming and hopefully making my point,” she said. “Whether or not it gets heard-at least I know I tried.”

What started as regional re-zoning may transform an entire school district. The next school input meeting will be in December.