Analyst says Union Co. school plan based on bad information

by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:

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UNION COUNTY, N.C. - A Union County parent said the proposed school redistricting plan is based on bad information and that the district can avoid redistricting and help underperforming schools.
 
That parent, who is a banking professional, presented his analysis Monday night at a meeting to Union County commissioners and board of education members.
 
Michael Croal runs numbers for a living as a banking consultant, and when he first saw the Union County Board of Education's report on crowded schools, he said, the math didn't add up.
 
“We are taking students from higher-performing schools and pushing them into lower-performing schools,” said Croal.
 
He said the district facilities committee came up with the redistricting plan from a population forecast based on census data.
 
But Croal said when he reanalyzed the same data by neighborhood and school cluster, he found only one middle school and three elementary schools would be over capacity next year.
 
“There are a few schools that have the issue,” he said. “You can fix temporarily, fix bigger issues and come up with better plan for everybody.”
 
Many parents believe the redistricting plan is an effort to raise test scores at underperforming schools on the east side of the county.
 
That would help ensure the district continues to receive federal funds and grants like Race to the Top.
 
“The crisis is the performance at these schools that needs to be addressed differently,” he said.

Croal believed the district should purchase trailers for the few schools that will be affected next year and pour other money into staff and resources at the lower-performing schools.

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