New Hanover Co. school board discussed middle school redistricting

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Lauren Thomson - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) -  The New Hanover County School Board faced some tough talk from parents Tuesday night at a redistricting forum held at Williston Middle School.

Many Williston parents addressed the board for the first time, upset about the reputation that the school has earned in the county as "under-performing."  Several parents said the board should focus their attention on making all schools succeed.

Ativa Johnson has a student at Williston and he says the school board's redistricting decision should be about what is best for every child.

"No matter what your skin color or what your neighborhood is," said Johnson.  "We want the quality of education to stay the same."

More than sixty people signed up to speak at the forum, all of them citing different reasons why their children should go to one school or another.  Several Ogden parents reiterated their desire for their students to attend Noble Middle School instead of the newly-built Holly Shelter.  Other parents, including those from the Monkey Junction area talked about not wanting their child on a bus for extended periods of time.

"You can maintain high parental involvement that way," explained Echo Farms resident, Scott Bennett.  "You don't break up communities and you don't waste a lot of time, money and energy on bussing kids all over the county."

However, many Williston Middle School supporters say that energy will be worth it.

"I believe in balance to give all of our students a chance," said parent Susan Coleman.

Coleman says she has done her own research by comparing schools across North Carolina.  She believes schools with more than fifty percent economically disadvantaged students are significantly less likely to perform well on standardized tests.

Click here to see the proposed maps

The NHCS School Board will meet for its regular meeting on Tuesday, November 3.  They could vote that night to adopt a final redistricting map.

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