Hundreds Of Families Affected By School Redistricting

5:21 AM, Sep 16, 2011   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- Just as hundreds of elementary school students begin to get into the groove of the new school year, they may have to get ready to make another transition.

Guilford County Schools is building several new schools, which means school boundaries will be re-drawn and students must be redistributed.

There are three options on the table right now for the new Ronald McNair Elementary School in the northern Greensboro area.

The first option would mean dozens of kids who currently attend Jesse Wharton Elementary, next year, would attend Ronald McNair. That option splits the Lake Jeanette neighborhood.

The second option would include children in the North Elm Street neighborhood instead.

Option three would include the North Elm Street area and west some neighborhoods to the west, south of the 1-840 urban loop.

Some parents in the Lake Jeanette area are concerned about the first option.

"That's stressful. Just getting organized and getting our minds around it and preparing our children if it is going to be an issue," said Sharon Schlachter, whose daughter is enrolled in kindergarten at Jesse Wharton.

Jason Tower, whose son Max is in first grade at the same school agreed.

"He had a great kindergarten experience last year and picked up right where he left off this year," said Tower.

The transition to first grade is already a big one.

"My concern would be having to take my son Maxwell out of an environment, that has been very successful for him and that he's really thriving in, and be put into something that is a complete question mark for us," he said.

Jesse Wharton Elementary has also been a neighborhood school for the Lake Jeanette community.

"We bought into this community because it's a neighborhood community. Our kids know each other, the parents know each other, and I really bought into the idea of a neighborhood school. And now my concern is, my kids aren't going to go to school with their friends in the neighborhood, and that was our goal," said Kathleen Smith.

"I'd just hate to see somebody with a red marker and a map divide what has been a very unified, supportive neighborhood school," said Tower.

The make-up of their kids' classrooms would be different too.

"We put her in public school, specifically for diversity," said Schlachter.

Jesse Wharton is about 55 percent white to 45 percent other races. However, all three redistricting options change the demographics dramatically.

According to option one, Ronald McNair Elementary would consist of 22 percent white students to 78 percent non-white students.

According to option two, the school would be made up of 15 percent white students and 85 non-white students.

And according to option three, 21 percent of the students would be white, 79 percent would be non-white.

"The world is diverse and it's important that she knows diversity is a great thing. It's not something you teach about, it's something you experience. That being said, the plans don't look all that diverse either," said Schlachter.

Three public forums have been set to seek feedback from parents and the public regarding proposed changes to student assignment boundaries for some schools. The meetings will be held in each school's auditorium from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

* Monday, September 26, at Northeast High School, 6700 McLeansville Road, McLeansville
* Monday, October 3, at Andrews High School, 1920 McGuinn Drive, High Point
* Thursday, October 13, at Page High School, 201 Alma Pinnix Drive, Greensboro

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