WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) – The city of Williamsburg will begin a feasibility study on possibly running its own school division separate from James City County, but any possible implementation would be more than two years away.

Currently, the two localities are combined as Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools. Williamsburg City Council voted unanimously Thursday to begin the study.

The study will take place through fall 2023, and will then offer multiple opportunities for public input that will be based on the study’s findings.

“The Williamsburg City Council is committed to being prudent fiscal stewards while
guaranteeing best outcomes,” said Williamsburg Mayor Douglas G. Pons in a statement. “We apply that same standard to our school system. 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.”

It said any implementation of the study’s forthcoming recommendations would not take place until the 2025-2026 school year, at the earliest.

The city plans to contract a third-party consultant to lead the study and will formally invite the William & Mary School of Education to participate in the study, with other partners possible.

The city said that by launching the study, it is taking its first step to “consider alternatives to the traditional K-12 educational model for improved pathways to higher education and certificate programs through coordination with local institutions,” as it states in the city’s 2023-2024 Goals, Initiatives and Outcomes document that was adopted last November.

The document outlines strategic initiatives driving the city’s direction and focus over a two-year workplan.

Just three WJCC public schools are located in the city of Williamsburg – Matthew Whaley Elementary, James Blair Middle and Berkeley Middle schools. The rest of the division’s schools are in James City County. The school division gets funding from both the county and city, based on the percentage of students enrolled from each locality.