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LETTER: Elementary 12 should be first magnet school

The public should be aware that a CHCCS planning report not only mentions plans for another new elementary school for the district, it suggests that Elementary School 12 become a second DL magnet. If the community were aware that an entire new elementary school is slated to be a dual-language magnet, there is little doubt the proposal to dismantle the 50-year-tradition of FPG would be dead on arrival. The report also goes on to say that there won’t be the walk zone issue there as the new school will either be on the Greene tract (county-owned land) or Carolina North.
Although the intentions are to make Elementary School 12 a second dual-language magnet school, it should be our first dual-language magnet school.

Dismantling any of our district schools would be disrespectful, unnecessary and unethical and do nothing to alleviate the current overcrowded non-dual language conditions in our elementary schools. With a shared understanding that CHCCS must expand in order to meet population growth and significant educational requests, the board should be open to the possibility that Elementary School 12 lends an opportunity to maintain the strength and stability with which we credit the CHCCS system. This would solve most of the current conflicts.

FPG’s walk zone is host to the majority of families who rely on the stability, exceptional educational benefits and support that they have become accustomed to at FPG. It is immoral to disperse these children and break up a historic, working neighborhood school when there are other viable options. FPG has shown radical improvement over the last few years and should not be punished for their accomplishments! I believe in change and understand that it is usually tricky to please everyone when it comes down to it but there are options!

A transition like this should allow more time for adjustment. I feel everyone would have been more tolerant of the proposed “FPG takeover” plans if there was ever a reasonable proposed timeline and proof of the efficacy of the dual-language magnet school concept in our local context. Gifting the honor and authority of CHCCS Elementary School 12 to the DL task force as our community’s first dual-language magnet school would allow a respectable timeline, not to mention a unique opportunity for the program to build and foster an environment that better fits their needs and satisfies their structure and philosophies.

Carrie Alter
Chapel Hill

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