With 4 School Expansions Funded, Smaller Rezoning Plan Will Pass

school bus

The County Commission got several rounds of applause Monday night, a rare sight in the county auditorium. It passed $4.9 million for Page and $17.2 million for Brentwood to expand capacity at their high and middle schools.

In passing resolutions that funded expansions of Brentwood and Page High and Middle Schools in time for the 2018-19 school year, the commission’s unanimous votes ensures that Williamson County Schools Board rezoning Plan A will pass at its May 15 vote, instead of Plan B, which rezones more than 800 more students to the more than 2,800 in Plan A.

An out-of-the woodwork Facebook group of engaged parents and citizens expanded and organized quickly, gaining well over 3,000 members in less than two months. The citizen advocacy group made an obvious impression upon commissioners. However, Commissioner Gregg Lawrence, District 4, made it clear that this was just the first battle. He spoke directly to the full crowd.

“I hope all of you realize that through this process, this issue goes beyond a couple buildings in Brentwood and Page,” he said. “It will be an ongoing issue we have going forward. Growth does not pay for itself. We are facing the realities of what we are going to do about it. We are likely going to have to raise taxes this July [when the county votes on a budget].

“I would like to see all of you remain engaged with us and help us going forward,” he said. “Stay involved in the coming process as much as you have been in this one. Because it is going to be an ongoing battle to fund these schools over next decade or more.”

An apparently quite unpopular Plan B, considered as a contingency in case the county voted not to fund the $17.2 million of the Brentwood expansion and $4.9 million for a Page High and Middle expansion.

Rezoning, Plan A and Brentwood Expansion

But the vote saved Plan A, in which Brentwood and Franklin High Schools and their feeder elementary and middle schools are mostly untouched.

As it stands, currently, nine WCS schools are overcapacity and six more are right at their limits. The rezoning creates short term relief to an immediate problem. In Plan A1, a total of 2,845 students will now most likely be rezoned, which will begin with the 2018-19 school year. This is contrast to Plan B, which planned for the contingency of the commission not funding Monday’s resolutions. It would have added more than 800 more students affected by the rezoning, bumping the total up to 3,684, with most of the additional student moving from Brentwood to Fairview, Franklin and Nolensville.

The city of Brentwood on Wednesday pitched in to grease the tracks a bit. In a simultaneous meeting at Brentwood City Hall, the city commission voted to pay $2.4 million toward the county’s debt service on the expansion project. However, Looney, who missed the beginning the county meeting to see help the city with its decision, before rushing to the county building to announce what Brentwood had pledged.

The money will come out of Brentwood’s portion of its Adequate Facilities Tax.


The expansion project for Page will increase capacity by 600 in middle and 1,000 in high school.

The $4.9 million will cover the first phase of the project. It adds new academic buildings and tweaks the location of sports fields to increase parking and put in an access road to the south side of the campus.

For the expansion to work, WCS will need to increase the sewer capacity, which necessitates buying land to create treatment centers. Money for this is not included in current requests.