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BOE approves redistricting process

By Rose Laudicina
Staff Writer

Plans for redistricting for the opening of elementary school 11 were set in motion at the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education meeting last Thursday.

The board voted 6-1 to approve a plan that outlined the process for redistricting and gave the eight-member redistricting team the go-ahead to start developing three possible redistricting plans.

With elementary school 11 under construction in the Northside neighborhood and slated to open in August 2013, the district will move elementary school children to fill the school and alleviate overcrowding in many of the district’s other schools.

Board member James Barrett cast the lone dissenting vote against the plan and said he was concerned about the lack of opportunity for public comment early on in the process.

“I am a little concerned that we don’t take advantage of public feedback early in the process and incorporate it into our plans,” Barrett said. “I think we should have added a couple more public hearings.”

The process for redistricting was revised in 2009 after the opening of Morris Grove Elementary School, which was the last time Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools conducted a major redistricting project.

In restructuring the process, district stakeholders recommended that the redistricting plan-development process be completed by district staff and that community involvement and feedback be streamlined for efficiency.

The redistricting team is charged with developing three plans to be presented to the Redistricting Advisory Council and then discussed at two public hearings in December. After the public hearings, the school board will be presented with a recommended plan and is scheduled to vote on new redistricting assignments on Jan. 17, 2013.

Although the team will focus primarily on moving elementary school students, it will also be looking at moving students from the Carrboro High attendance zone.

In the 2011-12 school year, Carrboro High was operating around 84 students above the Schools Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (SAPFO) capacity, and with more growth projected some students will have to be redistricted to reduce overcrowding.

The walk zone for elementary school 11 was also approved at the meeting, 7-0.
“I hear an awful lot of support for elementary 11,” Barrett said. “I have confidence in the process we came up with in the end, and I certainly hope it will create a plan that everyone agrees with.”

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