by: Torie Wells Updated:
UNION COUNTY, N.C. - Hundreds of frustrated Union County parents learned Tuesday night about the school district's proposal to redistrict. Eyewitness News was told that the proposed plan could impact 5,800 students at 37 schools, sending some kids miles from their current school. The school board chairman said this plan is just one option the board is considering.
Next year, Michelle Cheney's son will go to kindergarten, joining her other four kids already in school.
"We love the schools right now," said Cheney, whose children go to New Town Elementary and Cuthbertson Middle Schools.
She said she is afraid her children could soon be going somewhere else.
"The line actually goes right behind my backyard, so we would be Western Union Elementary school," she said.
On Tuesday night, the proposed redistricting maps were released to the public.
"We are reaching critical mass with a lot of our schools," said Richard Yercheck, the Union County School Board chairman.
Yercheck said redistricting is just one option the district is considering to battle the growing population.
Parents said even the thought has them concerned.
"You can't keep moving kids around. It's not good for anybody," said Paula Wood, a parent whose kids go to New Town Elementary.
Parents said they are concerned about what the change would mean socially and academically for their children. Some said they are concerned about a longer bus ride for their kids, or commute to get to them.
"This is a very emotional issue because we are dealing with kids and families and disrupting people's lives," said Yercheck.
He said that the board is aware of that, and is exploring several options. One example, he said, is a staggered year-long schedule for students, where some would go to school while others were off. He said that is something the entire district would have to decide on.
Some parents said they would like to see trailers used or new schools built.
Yercheck said the board will consider all of that, as well but he said safety must be a consideration when looking at trailers.
He said the district has to also look at cost and the impact on taxpayers when considering new schools. He said there is open space at existing schools right now.
The Wesley Chapel Town Council will consider a resolution against the redistricting proposal at its next meeting.
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