CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - A possible major shift in students at several Cabarrus County schools have parents concerned.
Students from middle to high schools may be soon forced to change schools away from their friends and away from their homes.
It’s left many upset and now looking for alternatives.
At Monday’s meeting, the Cabarrus County Board of Education decided to table a vote on a realignment plan until next month.
The school system wants to realign attendance to accommodate the new middle school being built on Roberta Road.
Because of explosive growth in the area, more students coming into the system means more classrooms.
However, while those are being built, the school board wants to shuffle hundreds of kids around to even everything out.
According to a proposal the school system is considering, more than 1,400 students will be affected. A consulting firm the school system is using says this option has the least impact.
The firm also recommended moving 132 elementary students and 141 high school students to different schools. The realignment of attendance zones is expected to impact the following middle schools: Harold E Winkler, Northwest Cabarrus, Harris Road, JN Fries, CC Griffin, and Hickory Ridge.
Over the last few weeks some parents have spoken out over the proposed changes, pointing out it could triple commute times and would separate students from friends they’ve had since kindergarten.
“That transportation requirement is going to take our kids across some of the busiest roads in the county,” said parent Catherine Parrish. “A transportation requirement that nobody else in the county is being asked to endure. Asking our kids to travel over Concord Mills Boulevard, across I-85, or Poplar Tent where there are tens of thousands of cars a day creates some safety concerns that I don’t think have been addressed either.”
Dozens signed up to speak during the meeting. Due to COVID-19 restrictions for indoor gatherings, members of the public may watch the live stream of the meeting on the district’s YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/CAM4Eu13viY
“They’ve already gone through significant disruption because of COVID in 2020, this is just the nail in the coffin,” a parent said.
Worried parents watched from outside as speaker after speaker approached, and then pleaded with the school board to take another look at realignment.
“We still have unanswered questions,” a parent said.
Many of those speaking are promoting an alternative plan referred to as the Green Plus Plan.
“We’ve actually been presenting this plan since January,” said Parrish. “Thankfully, some board members have asked some pretty critical questions that have gotten some attention brought to the plan over the last couple of weeks. The facts are on our side that we have a better plan. We address long-term growth at numerous schools within the county, we address feeder patterns. We’re correcting middle to high school transition so that kids stay together for over 900 kids in the county, not just our school, not just the school our kids go to.”
Dozens of people showed up at the Board of Education on Monday as they have every month since January to the Cabarrus School Board meeting.
“I’m asking that you’ll pay attention to those voices,” a parent said.
Parents say the boards realignment plan will keep kids on busses longer and through more dangerous roadways.
Then, it will drop them off where they’ll be virtual outsiders.
“It’s kind of like they’re the island of the misfit kids,” said parent Liz Altschuler. “They’re going to walk into a school that’s not theirs, into a community that’s not theirs. They’re not going to know other kids, and they’re going to be outsider for three years.”