On Thursday, June 8, 2023, the Williamsburg City Council voted unanimously to launch a feasibility study regarding the possibility of running its own school system, separate from James City County.
The study will take place through the fall of 2023. The City will then offer multiple opportunities for public input based on the study’s findings. Any implementation of recommendations from the study would take place, at the earliest, in the 2025-2026 school year.
The City will contract a third-party consultant to lead this study; details regarding the consultant will be released once that decision has been made. The City will formally invite the William & Mary School of Education, and potentially other partners, to participate in the study.
“The Williamsburg City Council is committed to being prudent fiscal stewards while guaranteeing best outcomes. We apply that same standard to our school system,” Mayor Douglas G. Pons said. “A feasibility study is the start of a process to evaluate the best possible educational opportunities for Williamsburg students, and we are privileged to have a world-class university and School of Education in William & Mary to help us explore the viability of running our own school system.”
In launching this feasibility study, the City is taking its first step to fulfilling its initiative to “consider alternatives to the traditional K-12 education model for improved pathways to higher education and certificate programs through coordination with local institutions,” as stated in the City’s 2023-2024 Goals, Initiatives, and Outcomes (GIO), adopted in November 2022.
The GIO document outlines strategic initiatives that drive the City’s direction and focus over a two-year workplan. Last fall, the City of Williamsburg launched a series of public input opportunities called Future Festivals to inform the development of the GIOs. More than 900 City residents attended the Future Festivals, and 700 responded to the online GIO survey.