Cabarrus Co. holds meeting for parents on controversial redistricting plan

CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. — Cabarrus County parents voiced their opinions Monday night about a controversial redistricting plan.

The plan could impact 19 schools and 4,500 students. It would draw lines for the new West Cabarrus High School and the new elementary school in Harrisburg.

Most of the research and planning for the new school boundary lines is already done but that didn’t stop more than 200 people from showing up at the meeting to make one final plea to school board members.

“Efficiency must be balanced with effectiveness,” parent Todd Ricksman said.

One after another, more than a dozen parents and community members faced the Cabarrus County School Board as it considers new boundary lines for schools.

“To say that this was a community-driven process with extensive public participation is somewhat disingenuous,” parent Jim Fulton said.

A committee made up of parents and community members narrowed down the redistricting plan to two options, with the help of a consulting firm.

“All these decisions were made by a company that’s housed in Ohio,” parent Michael Guile said.

The standing room-only crowd was most concerned with how the plan will affect students. The redistricting could shift 4,500 of them, which is 15 percent of the district’s population.

“Even though my kids won’t be going to the same school that I wanted them to go to, I do think they did put forth a lot of effort to create a solid plan,” parent John Charles said.

Two new schools will open in the fall of 2020 -- an elementary school in Harrisburg and the new West Cabarrus High School. Beverly Hills Elementary School will temporarily close until a site survey finds out what can be renovated or rebuilt on the property.

The main purpose for the redistricting is because some schools are under capacity, some are packed, and the district expects thousands of more students in the coming years.

“While we have to meet the objectives of the realignment process, it’s important that we use the seats in our schools,” Cabarrus County School Board Chairwoman Cindy Fertenbaugh said.

The school board’s final vote is set for March 11.

Once approved, the new school boundaries will go into effect at the start of the 2020 school year, which is next August.