The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday December 2nd

Redistricting plans move forward

More than 1,000 local elementary school students will go back to school in a different district next year.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools students are facing the possibility of switching schools as the district begins a widespread redistricting process to eliminate overcrowding and move students to Elementary 11 — the system’s newest elementary school, expected to open in August 2013.

Carrboro High School, which was 84 students over capacity in the 2011-12 school year, is also likely to undergo spot redistricting.

“All of our elementary schools are at capacity and some are severely over capacity,” said Assistant Superintendent Todd LoFrese.

“When we complete the redistricting and (Elementary) 11 opens, it will provide us with needed relief to be able to have our schools at reasonable sizes,” he said.

LoFrese is a member of the redistricting team, which aims to keep schools balanced by socioeconomic status and student achievement levels. The team will also take school distance and bus routes into consideration.

In the next month, a Redistricting Advisory Council will be created to make recommendations on redistricting plans.

The council’s recommendation will be passed on to the Board of Education, which will make a final decision on the plan in January.

Some parents are already concerned about the effect redistricting will have on their children.

“For me, it’s not academic,” said Michelle Siegling, PTA co-president at Estes Hills Elementary School. “It’s more a personal concern about adjusting to a new environment, making new friends, just being uprooted,”

“It’s hard for the whole family if families have become established and an active part of the school. All of a sudden you don’t know the teachers, students, administrators.”

Sally Taylor, vice president of the Glenwood Elementary School PTA, said she is most worried about staying informed during the redistricting process.

It’s a concern that school system officials say they are prepared to meet.

Michelle Brownstein, vice chairwoman of the CHCCS Board of Education, said the board is trying to make the process as transparent as possible.

“We’re going to take the input we get from the public, from administration and staff and that’s why it is really important for people to participate,” she said.

After the 2008 redistricting to Morris Grove Elementary School, the school system looked to improve the process by using more accurate attendance numbers.

“In the past, they’ve gone through this whole process and then they start school and some schools are still lopsided,” Brownstein said.

“Hopefully it‘ll be more accurate with the data points that they’re using and that will minimize the number of people we move to maximize the optimal education for the kids.”

Contact the desk editor at city@dailytarheel.com.

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