The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday August 13th

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools consider redistricting plans

With the 2012-13 school year reaching its halfway point, administrators will hear parent feedback tonight on controversial school redistricting plan for next year.

More than 1,000 students will be assigned a new school for the 2013-14 school year, according to a Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools report from August.

The redistricting will help alleviate overcrowding, as will the construction of the district’s 11th elementary school — Northside Elementary, which will open in August.

But parents in the district have expressed concern about how their children will adjust to moving schools.

The first of two public hearings on the redistricting plans will be held tonight.

Jamezetta Bedford, a member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education, said she expects emotions to run high at the meeting.

“It is always, always, always very emotional and heartfelt for parents,” Bedford said of redistricting. “They may never forgive the board, but so be it. We have to do what’s best for the children of the district.”

Bedford said overcrowding has made redistricting necessary.

Enrollment growth in the CHCCS district spiked in the 2011-12 school year. A report conducted by the district found most elementary schools to be overcrowded.

To deal with this influx of new students, CHCCS schools have been forced to purchase mobile classrooms, relocate Pre-K classes and increase class sizes.

Laura Morgan, a member of the redistricting advisory council and mother of students at Frank Porter Graham Elementary, said Frank Porter Graham and Seawell Elementary will likely see the most redistricted students.

She said about 450 Frank Porter Graham students and 200 Seawell students would be redistricted ­— most of them to Northside.

Both schools are within two to three miles of Northside, which will be located at 350 Caldwell St.

Morgan said the advisory council prioritized socio-economic diversity when preparing the four redistricting plans.

Plans that concentrate a large number of at-risk students in Northside are less popular with parents than plans to spread at-risk students across the district.

“One of the things I love about Chapel Hill is that we have a great diversity in our schools,” Morgan said. “I think that people need to keep the perspective that we have a fantastic school district and any school you’ll go to will be a good one.”

She hopes parents come to tonight’s meeting with open minds.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of emotion there,” she said. “I would say to other parents that this is a tough situation, but I would hope that people would keep it civil.”

The final redistricting plan will be approved by the Board of Education Jan. 17.

Contact the desk editor at city@dailytarheel.com.

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