Redistricting will affect all schools
Your Nov. 28 article implies that only neighborhoods currently zoned to attend Seawell Elementary School will be affected by the district-wide redistricting taking place in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.
Instead, overcrowding at almost all of the school district’s elementary schools, combined with the addition of the new Northside Elementary school and the conversion of Frank Porter Graham into a dual-language magnet school, means that every elementary school will be affected by the redistricting.
The district has created four separate redistricting plans, which have been carefully reviewed and revised by a redistricting advisory committee.
It is my understanding that this advisory committee has recommended three of these plans – Plans 1.2, 2.1 or 3.1 – as the preferred options.
These plans create the best environment for student success for all of the elementary school students in the district, which should be the ultimate goal of any redistricting.
Plans 1.2, 2.1, and 3.1 move between 935 and 1,047 students, compared to the 1,229 students who would be moved under Plan 4.1, which creates the most disruption to families in our school district.
The mass movement of children contemplated by Plan 4.1 fails to create consistency and equality across our school system.
Instead, Plan 4.1, which was designed to prioritize temporary savings in transportation costs over all other redistricting goals, gives rise to the highest variations in math and reading test scores between schools and creates the greatest variance in the number of at risk children among schools.
Under Plan 4.1, three streets in my neighborhood association are singled out for redistricting to an elementary school separate from the remainder of our neighborhood.
Under Plan 4.1, the 15 Lake Forest Association children living in Segment 112 will be moved from Estes Hills Elementary School to a different elementary school from the rest of our neighborhood, despite the fact that we live less than two miles from Estes Hills.
It is my understanding that ours is the only neighborhood association in any of the four plans that will be divided and not redistricted as an intact neighborhood.
If Plan 4.1 appeared to be the best plan for all the children of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School district, our family would support its implementation, despite its effect on us. That, however, is simply not the case; nor is it the case that only families attending one elementary school are affected by the proposed redistricting.Emily Moseley Chapel HillPlan 2.1 is fairest option
I was a member of the Redistricting Advisory Council that met last month to review plans 1-4. Though I was extremely disillusioned last June, it was important for me to work till the very end of the process that started when FPG was changed from a neighborhood school to a magnet school for district dual language students.
Plan 2.1 is most fair and equitable for our district. This plan has the smallest variation in at risk percentage and math scores. It moves the second lowest number of students and has a lower SES variation then almost all plans save one. Almost all FPG students are redistricted to Northside Elementary – and we plan to work hard to ensure it gets a great start.
In this year’s redistricting, many students will likely attend a school that is the third or fourth closest to their home. That is just the nature of our town in 2012.
Our neighborhood has three other schools that are closer than Northside. The segment that has complained the loudest about this plan will have an average bus route increase of 1.2 miles as noted by the district’s measurements. Many neighborhoods have far greater increases.
And to the students who will be joining our contingent at Northside?
I invite you to review the plans and take a look around the neighborhood. I walk Northside often; my kids and I go see the construction.
This is going to be a fantastic school in a wonderful Chapel Hill neighborhood. Let’s start it off as an equal partner to our existing schools, not with a skewed number for at risk populations.
Chapel Hill will have 11 elementary schools next fall with richly diverse constituencies. Plan 2.1 offers the best option for truly equitable schools.Laura Hayes Morgan Chapel HillBudget solution must protect the poor
Congress members are currently negotiating to find a way to reduce our nation’s deficit and adopt a budget.
It is essential that programs for the poor are protected in any final agreement. These include WIC, SNAP (formerly food stamps), the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child Tax Credit.
Cutting programs that help poor people will not reduce our deficits, but it would have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable members of our society.
Such cuts would actually cost our economy more in lost productivity for adults, reduced educational outcomes for children, and increased health care costs for all ages lacking sufficient nutrition.
Information from Bread for the World, a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad, indicates that nearly half of SNAP participants nationwide in 2010 were children, and another 80 percent were adults 60 years of age or older.
In 2011, 17.9 percent of North Carolina’s adults and 30.3 percent of children under the age of 5 lived in households with incomes below the poverty level.
Congress must find a solution to our budget problem that includes tax increases for those who can afford to pay more, and spending cuts in programs serving people who are not poor. And it must maintain a circle of protection for programs that help poor people provide food for their families.Gail McKinnis Chapel HillPlans violate school policy
Dear Ms. Burroughs, Dr. Forcella, Mr. LoFrese, and Members of the Board of Education: About two weeks ago, we discussed that the proximity value should be honored in redistricting. I’d like to further talk about our concerns in the context of the school policy 4150, which governs the redistricting process.
Three of the four draft plans in the proposal singled out our community segment 074A as an easy and convenient target, and make it a gerrymandered satellite.
This is a biased and flagrant proposal, particularly because of the Plans 1, 2 and 3. We strongly oppose these three plans.First, these plans move our 213 kids to the fourth farthest school away from our neighborhood. They ignore the proximity value as one of the three priorities for equitable schools, which is clearly stated in policy 4150. Apparently these plans violate the school policy.
Second, they treat our 213 kids differently and unequally. These 213 kids will not be able to go to their neighborhood school, while their peers in other segments can.
The policy states “the Board of Education is committed to the belief that each child should have an equal opportunity to high quality education.” When our kids are bused to pass by three closer schools and go to the fourth farthest school while kids in other segments can go to their neighborhood schools, we do not believe our children are given the equal opportunity to education. Therefore, these plans are against the commitment of the board of the education.
Third, I realize that the balance value is also written in the school policy along with the proximity value. I understand these values are three priorities for equitable schools, and they all should be respected. I believe honoring these values is the goal of the board. I also believe this goal is achievable when optimization software is used.
Unfortunately, manual hands-on approaches were used to create these plans. They ignore the proximity value in the name of balance, but still, they violate the school policy.
I, together with many parents in our segment, request the Board of Education to: remove Plan 1,2 and 3 from the proposal to enforce the school policy; protect our 213 kids’ equal opportunity to education; and keep our 213 kids in our neighborhood school.Jun Tian Chapel HillThanks to Equinox
I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to the local jazz band Equinox for their long-term support of the Orange County Rape Crisis Center.
For years they have played at our Annual Holiday Auction free of charge, providing excellent music and a joyous atmosphere for the event. Donating this service is incredibly helpful, as this event is our largest single fundraiser of the year.
Reducing event costs is vital in the effort to raise as much funding as possible for our client services and our education programs.
We deeply appreciate the talented members of Equinox giving their time and talent in service to the Center. Many thanks to Equinox for supporting safe communities in Orange County.Shamecca Bryant Executive Director, Orange County Rape Crisis Center
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