Employees of Orange County Schools came before the Board of Education Monday, Feb. 6, to present updates on redistricting within the school district.
Patrick Abele, Orange County Schools' deputy superintendent, said overcrowding is a concern for the school district as new growth in the area is leading to class sizes that are exceeding capacity. He said the district is bringing in mobile units to help with the problem.
However, he also said the size of cafeterias, gyms and media centers is not increasing — noting the importance of determining the core capacity size of each school.
“More students also means more spaces they need to serve them,” Abele said.
He said the district is looking to ensure that each school boundary serves a balanced group of students and that each school is diverse in its socioeconomic and academic components.
According to Abele, the percentage of students in poverty is rising, with some schools reaching 70 percent of students living in poverty.
Lee Williams II, the district’s chief equity officer, said when breaking down report cards, there is a disconnect between the perceived performance of white students compared to students of color.
He said this poses a threat to students who may feel like they are unable to meet performance markers. Williams said breaking down these established lines would help the district examine what is best for students as well as promote diversity — racially, economically and linguistically.
“What I am asking, encouraging and begging is that we do something courageous that most folks won’t,” Williams said. “Look at destroying these lines and looking at doing what’s best for our kids.”