The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday September 20th

Chapel Hill parents debate redistricting plans

Just days after proposed redistricting plans for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools were released, parents are already divided on what plan would work best for students in the system.

The CHCCS Board of Education held the first of two scheduled hearings Monday to hear from parents about the proposals.

Due to severe overcrowding in the system, the district began construction of its 11th elementary school — Northside Elementary School — earlier this year.

The school will open in the fall of 2013, but students will have to be redistricted to alleviate crowded schools.

Last week, the system unveiled four redistricting plans. The board will select one plan on Jan. 17.

Each plan prioritizes redistributing students based on distance to school, socioeconomic status and student achievement. The plans affect each of the district’s segments differently.

Most of the arguments during Monday night’s meeting centered around keeping travel time low for kids.

The board primarily heard dissension about the fourth plan, which some said would displace too many students.

Chapel Hill resident Susan Payne said the fourth plan would keep kids in her neighborhood from their longtime elementary school — Seawell.

“We’ve been at Seawell since the ’80’s,” Payne said.

Others said the fourth plan would not efficiently alleviate overcrowding.

Chapel Hill resident Steve Wright said per the first three plans, there would only be two schools that exceeded 95 percent capacity.

But with the fourth plan, Wright said four schools might exceed that capacity.

“It seems that the plan that dislocates the least families and puts the least amount of schools over the 95 percent capacity should be the one to implement,” he said.

But others remained supportive of the fourth plan.

Loo Ng, a Chapel Hill resident, said it was not fair for the district’s 74A segment to move so many students to a school so far away, as would happen with the other plans.

“They moved our 213 kids to the fourth farthest school away from our neighborhood,” she said.

Qingsong Yang, who is also part of the large 74A segment, said his segment is mainly composed of minorities and moving the segment wouldn’t create enough diversity.

“We have a lot of people concerned that if our kids are moved to a new school it will be a minority-dominated school,” he said.

Others argued segment 74A should be broken up to allow for more flexibility.

Board member Annetta Streater said although her daughter might be affected by the redistricting, she is going to keep an open mind.

“I take the approach that we can make this work and it will be a great environment,” she said. “That’s the approach that I will have no matter what happens.”

Contact the desk editor at city@dailytarheel.com.

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