MAY 16, 2006 -- If you live in New Hanover County and have children in kindergarten through 5th grades, you're probably aware of the school redistricting debate going on with the New Hanover County School Board.
There's a 50% chance that your children will be transferred to different schools starting with the 2007 school year. The school board says they want to redistrict to make better use of school space, some are crowded and some are underutilized.
Two plans are being considered. One plan's goal is for greater racial diversity, and supporters of that plan want to achieve more socioeconomic balance in the schools. The other plan's goal tries to keep kids as close to home as possible, and supporters of that plan point out that the diversity plan splits up neighborhoods, and children who have grown up playing together will be divided and bussed to schools far from their homes. They also say that parents are more involved in their children's schools when it's a neighborhood school and not one across town.
We don't know which plan is better, but if you have children that will be affected, we're sure you have an opinion. There are three public forums being held over the next couple of weeks and the school board will announce a decision in August to give parents a year's notice. So if you want to voice your concerns, you must attend one of these meetings. If you don't go, you'll have no reason to complain if you're unhappy with the outcome.