Redistricting reality when Union Co. schools open Monday

Union County redistricting issues

UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Monday morning will be back to school in Union County. But thousands of students won't be returning to their old schools.

Some parents - still angry about the School Board's vote to move thousands of students around to alleviate what school officials called overcrowding in some schools - are having to face the reality.

Protests and court challenges didn't undo the vote.

Now, parents are dealing with the situation.

In the Wesley Oaks neighborhood - redistricting has caused dramatic changes.

"A lot of for sale signs. A lot of people are gone. A lot of people have pulled their kids out of Union County schools and gone to private schools, charter schools, home schools" said Kathy Nesbitt, who has lived in the subdivision for eight years.

The Nesbitts are trying to figure out the new school year.

"Anxious. We're excited" Kathy Nesbitt said. "We have somebody starting high school for the first time in our house so that's exciting. It's not where we would like him to be. But he's going there and he's excited. We're more nervous than excited."

The Nesbitts have three children in Union County Schools.

"I have a son in Cuthbertson High School. I have a son in Sun Valley High school and a daughter in Sun Valley Middle school" Kathy Nesbitt said.

Last year all three kids were in the same cluster. Now, they're spread out. Kathy Nesbitt is anticipating spending a lot of time driving around in her car.

"I think the schools are going to be impacted in that parents can't participate. You can't choose which kids' schools you're going to participate in over the other. You can't go to one kid's event when your other kid has an event across the county for a different school."

Union county school officials say 6300 students will be impacted by redistricting. As of August 5th, parents filed 113 appeals to keep their kids in their original schools. 37 appeals were won.

Wendy Keenan didn't appeal the changes to her family.

"I'm very okay with it. We've been redistricted before" Keenan said. "The only part I don't like is I would like my kids to go to the same school and be able to stay at the same school until they graduate."

She said her seven year old daughter will be attending Western Union, her 11 year old daughter will be entering sixth grade at Parkwood Middle School, and her 13 year old daughter will also be at Parkwood.

Keenan said "we're going to have to travel a little bit farther but as far as travel goes my children are very excited about the new school they're going to."

Taylor McIntyre was not the least bit excited about redistricting.

'At first I was really mad and I just wanted to scream and run away" the 11 year old told WBTV. "But now I'm kind of happy because most my friends got redistricted."

In the Wesley Oaks neighborhoods, where for sale signs are up and kids are no longer attending the same schools, Kathy Nesbitt said she's willing to give redistricting - her third go around - a chance.

"We're going to hope for the best. Hopefully by Christmas we'll have a good feel of how things are going -  which coincidentally leads into the lottery time for all charter schools so we will be applying to everything that comes down the pike."

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