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2512 George Mason Drive • P.O. Box 6038 Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-0038   757.263.1000 • 757.263.1240 TDD

Policies and Regulations

School Board of the City of Virginia Beach
Policy 5-14


School Attendance Zones

  1. Generally

    Upon the recommendation of the Superintendent, the School Board shall designate school attendance zones.

    The School Board recognizes that only through effective long-range planning for enrollment can the School Division be adequately prepared to meet the needs of its current and future student population. In order to assure such planning, the School Board establishes procedures which require annual review and recommendations from the Building Utilization Committee regarding enrollment trends and their impact on School Division facilities and which will assure adequate opportunity for community reaction prior to any redistricting decision by the School Board.

  2. Projections

    The School Division Demographer, under the supervision of the Superintendent, shall:

    1. Produce by December 1of each year, annual updates on the 5-year enrollment projections for the School Division which take into consideration the following:
      1. School registration figures;
      2. Review of forthcoming changes in planning and zoning;
      3. Review of current and planned community land development and housing projects; and
      4. Latest available birth data.
    2. Coordinate enrollment data, facilities planning, transportation impact and formation of recommendations for review by the Superintendent and the School Board.
  3. Process
    1. Building Utilization Committee

      The Superintendent shall create a Building Utilization Committee, (hereinafter “BUC”) with no more than seven (7) members. The School Division Demographer shall chair the BUC. In addition to the Demographer the BUC shall include a representative from School Leadership, and two or three representatives of the School Board. The Council of Civic Organizations and the PTA Council shall also be invited to name one member each to serve as members of the BUC.

    2. Review of Projections

      Between November 1 and March 15 of each year, the BUC shall analyze the updated 5-year enrollment projections to determine the impact, if any, of changes in enrollment projections on optimal building utilization and report to the School Board any recommendations. The BUC shall consider a plan for redistricting when building utilization at any school building differs from the optimum building utilization level by exceeding the level by ten (10) percent or by falling below the level by ten (10) percent.

    3. Formulation of Redistricting Recommendations

      The BUC will receive, at the onset of its discussions, a proposed redistricting plan developed by the Demographer, which may include a recommendation for no action, to provide a basis from which to move forward in making recommendations. The BUC shall consider the proposed plan in light of the factors set forth below. While each of the factors must be considered and discussed, it may be impractical to reconcile each factor in the recommendations which will ultimately be presented to the School Board.

      1. Optimal utilization of space:
      2. The desire to keep areas commonly known as subdivisions or neighborhoods together;
      3. The need to develop long term solutions that support limiting redistricting of individual students to one time at each level (i.e. once at elementary, once at middle and once at high school), except in cases of student change in residence;
      4. Construction considerations (documented new subdivision construction and scheduled school renovation/construction projects);
      5. The desire to reduce or eliminate the number of middle and high schools with divided feeder patterns if at all possible;
      6. Transportation considerations (non-transportation zones, hazards, redirection of the number of students riding a bus and reducing the length of bus rides);
      7. The costs associated with the various options considered;
      8. The impact of enrollment changes upon course offerings/subject offerings, equipment needs, building modifications, etc.; and
      9. The desire is to redistrict as few schools and students as possible.

      The BUC's recommendations will be incorporated into the final redistricting plan prepared by the School Division Demographer.

    4. Community Input

      Before the BUC's proposed redistricting plan is presented to the School Board for information, the School Division Demographer shall present the proposed plan to the community at one or more community meetings in each area affected by the proposed plan (e.g. a possible single boundary change affecting three schools could be handled by one meeting), where members of the community will have an opportunity to review the plan, to comment on its merit and make suggestions for its improvement.

      The BUC shall consider public comment prior to presentation of the proposed redistricting plan to the School Board.

  4. School Board Action

    The BUC shall prepare a final report no later than March 15 of each year. The final report will include the redistricting plan developed by the BUC, outlining the advantages and disadvantages of the plan. The report will be presented by the chair, or designee, of the BUC to the School Board for information at a meeting no later than the second School Board meeting in March.

    Prior to taking action on the BUC’s proposed redistricting plan, the School Board must hold a public hearing not less than ten days after reasonable notice to the public in a newspaper of general circulation if the redistricting of school boundaries affects fifteen percent or more of the pupils in the average daily membership in the affected school. Such public hearing may be held on the same day as the School Board meeting at which action on the plan is taken as long as the hearing is held before action is taken.

  5. Definitions
    1. Optimum Building Utilization: the division-wide building utilization, considering optimum capacity, for the average two-year historical growth or decline in membership from September 30 to March 31.
    2. Building Utilization: the actual percentage use of optimum program capacity, factoring in the number of first seats by grade level.
    3. Optimum Capacity: 90% of the program capacity of the school building reported, used for planning purposes due to fluctuations in class sizes throughout the school year.
    4. Program Capacity: the maximum capacity of the school building for a particular school year and particular student population, taking into account the number of first seats in the building (without counting portables currently on site) updated annually.
    5. First seat: an instructional space within a school building in which students receive core and primary instruction. Self-contained special education classrooms are also considered to be first seats.
  6. Attendance Zone Criteria

    The Superintendent shall ensure that students attend the schools that serve the attendance zone of their home residence as established by the School Board. The Superintendent shall develop procedures to verify that students attend their assigned attendance zones. A student needing an exception to attendance zones in order to attend a school may request an out-of-zone transfer. Criteria for out-zone transfers may be found under School Board Regulation 5-14.1.

    1. An individual student may apply for an out-of-zone transfer in the instance where; a) redistricting decisions affect an individual student more than one time at a school level (i.e. at the elementary school level at the middle school level or at the high school level); or b) a student change in residence.
    2. Children of School Board employees will be allowed to attend the school to which such parent or guardian reports or is their primary assignment pending approval of the school principal and such enrollment will be exempt from the school’s optimum building utilization by ten (10) percent or more requirement. Employees who live out of the City of Virginia Beach will be required to pay tuition according to the provisions set forth in School Board Regulation 5-10.1.
    3. A student may be transferred out-of-zone when the student’s presence in the school poses a significant disruption to the educational environment or to the safety of students or staff at the school. Upon recommendation of the Director of Student Leadership, the Department of School Leadership may review the student’s placement and make a decision to transfer the student to another school or an alternative educational setting. Transportation to the designated out-of-zone school may be provided. The adult student or the minor student’s parent/legal guardians may appeal the Department of School Leadership’s decision to the Superintendent within five (5) calendar days of notification. The Superintendent or designee will review the matter and make a final, written, unappealable decision. Any such placement will be for the current school year. Such transfers are exempt from the optimum building utilization level as stated in section F-1 of this Policy.
  7. Last Year Options

    Upon the establishment of new attendance zones by the School Board, rising fifth, eighth and twelfth graders shall be permitted to continue in their previously assigned schools if they provide their own transportation to that school, and such enrollment will be exempt from the school’s Optimum Building Utilization requirement by ten (10) percent or more.

Editor’s Note

For established regulations see School Board Regulation 5-14.1: Criteria for Out-of-Zone/School Attendance Areas and
School Board Regulation 5-10.1: Admission Requirements: General (See Virginia Beach City Public Schools website at

Code of Virginia, §22.1-79, asAmended. Powers and Duties.

Code of Virginia, §22.1-3.3, asAmended. Transfer of students under certain circumstances.

Adopted by School Board: October 21, 1969
Amended by School Board: October 15, 1974
Amended by School Board: August 21, 1990
Amended by School Board: July 16, 1991
Amended by School Board: June 15, 1993 (Effective August 14, 1993)
Amended by School Board: October 20, 1998
Amended by School Board: August 17, 1999
Amended by School Board: June 5, 2001
Amended by School Board: August 6, 2002
Amended by School Board: November 19, 2002
Amended by School Board: September 16, 2003
Amended by School Board: September 21, 2010
Scrivener’s Amendments: November 7, 2012
Scrivener’s Amendments: January 24, 2014
Amended by School Board: May 16, 2017