CHAPEL HILL — Discussion, but not a vote, is on the table for Thursday night’s Board of Education meeting as the board nears a decision on school redistricting. The board meets at Chapel Hill Town Hall at 7 p.m.
Four revised plans are up for review and possible tweaking, with a plan selection scheduled for January.
Depending on the plan selected, between 935 and 1,229 elementary students could change schools next year. A smaller redistricting at the high school level will improve overcrowded conditions at Carrboro High School.
Northside Elementary School, opening next school year, will relieve overcrowding at the district’s 10 other elementary schools and establish a neighborhood school zone in central Chapel Hill. Students participating in the district’s Spanish-English learning program will be moved to Frank Porter Graham Elementary, selected this year as a magnet school for Spanish dual language. Many FPG students who are not in dual language will be moved to other schools.
Various objections have been raised about all four of the plans, which were created by an administrative team that includes former assistant superintendent Steve Scroggs. At public hearings, many parents have told the school board they do not want to be moved under one plan or another, with a large segment in the Parkside neighborhood opposing a move to Northside Elementary under three of four draft plans.
Others criticized the district for not using optimization programs to develop its plans, something administrators said the creation of a magnet school at FPG would complicate. Mileage comparisons between various plans were criticized for not weighing the population of various neighborhood segments; in an example, a small segment containing 10 students moved 1.1 miles would be counted equally against a segment of 80 students moved the same distance.
Board of Education members will use tonight’s meeting to discuss the four plans and put questions to district administrators. A vote on a final plan is scheduled for the school board’s following meeting Jan. 17.