CARRBORO - Keep carbon footprints smaller, reduce transportation costs and keep elementary school students close to home.
Those were among the reasons given to support proposed Plan 4.1 of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools redistricting effort during Monday night's first public hearing at Carrboro High School.
"People who live here want their children to attend an elementary school close to their homes," said Allison Crawford, a resident of the Larkspur neighborhood. "If a majority of schools bus in large numbers of students from satellites, you're going to see a decreased interest in living in Chapel Hill and Carrboro."
Many of the more than 200 residents gathered in the high school auditorium stood several times when called upon by speakers to show support for Plan 4.1, which would move 1,229 students.
Of those, 563 would attend the new Northside Elementary School near downtown Chapel Hill and 347 would be assigned to the new dual-language magnet program at Frank Porter Graham. The rest would be redistributed to other elementary schools to help alleviate overcrowding at Seawell, Estes Hills, Glenwood and Scroggs.
But Marcus Reynolds, whose daughter is in second grade at Estes Hills, voiced approval for Plan 1.2, which would move 935 students.
"It's our position that any redistricting that moves children from Estes Hills is not in the best interest of the neighborhood," Reynolds said. He felt that the school could endure, with 13 students over capacity, because of the allure of the dual-language magnet and a new charter school expected to open next year.
Mia Burroughs, chair of the CHCCS Board of Education, told the crowd gathered for the hearing that if they didn't get to speak Monday, they could contact the district via email or attend the next public hearing at Chapel Hill High School Dec. 12 at 7 p.m.
"We are very fortunate to have a district where no one wants to leave their schools," Burroughs said. "It speaks highly of their staffs, but it makes this a challenging process. This board is committed that every child get excellent instruction, every day in every building."
Todd LoFrese, assistant superintendent for support services, said that he understands concerns about change, but urged parents to keep a positive attitude.
"Change is not something to be feared, but brings with it new opportunities and excitement," he said.
The board is expected to meet Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Chapel Hill town hall to discuss redistricting plans, but will not actually vote on the final plan until Jan. 17.
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