On July 25, 2023, the Board of Supervisors elected to preemptively terminate the Contract for the Joint Operations between James City County and the City of Williamsburg, effective at the close of the 2025-2026 school year.
The reason for this action is to ensure the County has as much time as possible to prepare for the implications of a system split brought on by the action of the City of Williamsburg in June. The Contract allowed the agreement between the City and the County to be terminated at any point by either party, effective at the end of the following school year.
In a resolution passed on June 8, 2023, the City Council authorized an investigation into the feasibility of a school operations split. Depending on the City’s feasibility study conclusions, the County could have been left with as little as 13 months to plan for potentially displaced students and administrative logistics. Terminating the Contract now gives the County two years to prepare and meet its obligation to protect the education, health, welfare and safety of County students.
James City County and the City of Williamsburg operate as independent government entities that share many regional services including the school system. Currently, the County has approximately 10,000 students and the City has approximately 1,000 students enrolled in the joint school system. Three schools and the school administration building are located within City limits while the other thirteen schools and the bus operations center are located in the County. Operating as an independent school division would require the County to ensure adequate capacity for all grade levels and would require additional classroom space.
The Board remains willing to negotiate with the City for a new contract if both parties determine it is in the best interest of all students to remain under a joint system. Any potential change in school operations is expected to preserve employment opportunities for all current teachers and staff.