Parents and officials clash over school redistricting

by: Torie Wells Updated:

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UNION COUNTY, N.C. —

Hundreds of Union County parents packed into a high school auditorium Tuesday night to voice and show their concern over a plan to redistrict the county.

Deputies were on hand to make sure there was order at the meeting.

One school board member told the crowd that the emotional issue is giving birth to some accusations that officials aren't thinking about what's best for kids.

"I hope at some point, those of you who have clearly misunderstood this process and have slandered public officials and members of the Union County school staff will find an equal passion within yourselves to apologize," said Union County School Board Member John Collins.

Parents who addressed the Board of Education Tuesday night asked members to consider other options to battle overcrowding like an offer from the Board of County Commissioners to spend $3 million on trailers.

The School Board Chairman told Eyewitness News that offer will be reviewed and considered. But he's afraid trailers alone won't solve overcrowding at every school.

"If we have a school that's at capacity for safety reasons then no, trailers won't work at that schools," said Chairman Richard Yercheck. He said safety is a major concern. He also said all options will be considered and it could come down to a blended solution.

Some parents want the Board of Education to use the trailers for now and then take time to come up with a different long range plan. Some offered the community's help in coming up with that.

"We can fix this problem and we can stop putting a band aid on it," said Jody Holler, a parent. "We can fix it as a community."

"The issue of redistricting has brought Union County together in an unprecedented way. We are more united than ever. You have a captive audience," said Kim Ormiston, another parent.

The Board of Education was supposed to talk about the overcrowding issue Tuesday night but pushed the issue to a work session next week. It said it just received the Board of County Commissioners proposal and needs more time to go over it.

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