PHOTO: Meredith Hendrickson, a resident of the Bent Creek subdivision in Nolensville, spoke briefly at a recent community meeting about rezoning plans presented to help with overcrowding at Nolensville schools. / Photo by John McBryde
By JOHN McBRYDE
By a vote of 8-4 Thursday evening, the Williamson County Schools Board of Education approved the first option of nine that have been presented and studied for a rezoning in Nolensville.
The vote came during a special-called meeting of board members, who had basically narrowed the choices down to two options.
Option one of nine, which is almost identical to the original rezoning plan that was voted down 6-6 at the board’s Feb. 18 meeting, was deemed by WCS Superintended Mike Looney and the district staff as the preferred choice. This option will see more than 200 children from the Silver Stream subdivision who attend Mill Creek Elementary transfer to Nolensville Elementary next year.
Residents of Silver Stream have expressed a strong kinship with Mill Creek, a school they consider a part of their neighborhood. They are particularly protective of the fact that the route from their subdivision to Mill Creek includes a paved trail that allows their children to walk and bike to school safely.
“Our kids love to walk to school,” Brian Bauman, a parent with three kids at Mill Creek, said after the meeting. “Days like today have been amazing for walking to school.”
Bauman’s wife, Shanna Bauman, added, “The fact that walkability and proximity wasn’t considered is sad. I don’t know if there’s much more to say than that. But now we can pour our heart into Nolensville Elementary since that’s where we’ll go next year. They’re getting some great families from Silver Stream.”
The whole rezoning process over the past three months has put something of a strain on the Nolensville community. Many Silver Stream residents have been showing up at board meetings and work sessions wearing blue T-shirts, while residents primarily from the Bent Creek subdivision have been wearing red T-shirts as a show of their unity.
“I think, overall, tensions were heightened at this time and not just in the two mostly represented areas tonight,” said Michael Edwards, a resident of Bent Creek who has one child at Mills Creek and another preschooler. “I think other neighbors and the town itself knew what was going on. I’d say tensions were heightened, for sure.”
That notion was stated by school board chair Gary Anderson, a resident of Nolensville who was against Option 1.
“I hope everyone understands that there is never a perfect rezoning plan,” he said during discussion. “This particular rezoning has some different things about it in that we’re rezoning from existing schools and not to a brand new school. Typically rezoning is caused by the opening of a new school, and this one is due to rapid growth in the Nolensville community.”
“We have great schools,” he added, “and no doubt about it, wherever students end up they will get a great education. What I really despise about this particular rezoning is the community I live in is split. It has split Nolensville pretty bad… This is the longest I’ve ever been through in a rezoning process, the most involved. And it’s very strange. Someone has to move to relieve overcrowding.”
In addition to Anderson, 5th District, others voting no on Option 1 were Angela Durham, 1st District, Candy Emerson, 8th District, and Galbreath.
Visit the WCS website to see all nine options that have been presented the past few weeks, and to compare the two primary options considered Thursday night, Option 1 and Option 6. Scroll down through Calendar of Events to find the April 11 special-called meeting.