Could Williamsburg split from James City County Schools to form its own school system?

Last September, a feasibility study was initiated to explore the possibility of Williamsburg breaking away from James City County Schools to establish its own independent school system. Fast forward to Monday night, and city council members were briefed on the insightful findings of this study.

Led by former Hampton Schools superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Smith, the presentation illuminated various aspects crucial for a potential separation, including economic considerations, school sizes, and sports programs. Dr. Smith emphasized that while the study does not make a recommendation, it provides essential context and framework for decision-makers.

Williamsburg Mayor, Doug Pons, revealed that discussions regarding the future of the joint school system have been ongoing for decades. While no concrete plans for separation are in place, the presentation outlined key constraints, best practices, and considerations should Williamsburg opt for an independent school system.

One glaring revelation from the report was the performance gap between Williamsburg students and their James City County counterparts in federal exams for math, reading, and science—a concern echoed by Mayor Pons and council members.

Looking ahead, Mayor Pons emphasized the need for transparency and community involvement in the decision-making process. Despite the recently signed five-year joint school agreement, he stressed that any potential new district would take time to materialize.

Your input is crucial! We invite all residents to engage in the dialogue surrounding this important decision. Here’s how you can participate:

Attend the public input session on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, at James Blair Middle School, starting at 5:30 p.m. Dr. Jeffery Smith will kick off the session with a brief presentation, followed by breakout sessions where your voice matters.

Fill out a feedback form at

Speak during Open Forum at Williamsburg City Council meetings. Regular meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at 2 p.m., with work sessions the Monday prior at 4 p.m. Both meetings take place in Stryker Center.

Join us as we navigate this crucial discussion and explore the possibilities of an independent school system for Williamsburg. Together, we can ensure the best outcomes for our students and our community.

Stay tuned for further updates and let your voice be heard!

You can read more about the process on the city of williamsburg website

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