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school300.jpg Submitted by John Rendleman on Thu, 01/14/2010 - 8:42pm.

The New Hanover County School Board has approved a middle school redistricting plan. It passed a revised version of option 2C was approved Thursday night. This puts an end to several months of debates, discussion and public forums. The school board was forced to redistrict because Holly Shelter Middle School is scheduled to open in August. In a four to three vote Thursday night the New Hanover County School Board passed a redistricting plan that turns out to be a victory for supporters of neighborhood schools. "I don’t feel like I cast the swing vote, but as chairman I did cast the tie-breaking vote," school board chair Ed Higgins said. "I was in favor of option 2C all along." Taylor Jones has children who attend school in New Hanover County. He attended every redistricting forum the last 11 months. He supports the revised 2C option, but he says it’s not perfect. "There are still some satellite districts within 2C," Jones said. "I wish they could have moved the satellites to make a true neighborhood school. It's unfortunate, but on the north end of town there will be some students who have to travel 13 miles to get to their school." Board member Dorothy DeShields is disappointed with the redistricting outcome. She voted against the 2C plan along with board members Nick Rhodes and Elizabeth Redenbaugh. DeShields told WWAY NewsChannel3 that Williston, Virgo and the new Holly Shelter middle schools will have too many students on a free or reduced lunch plan with option 2C. She says it’ll be more than 60 percent at all three schools. She prefers a redistricting plan that would reflect more socio-economic diversity. "It should have students from poor homes, median income homes and from rich homes and those children could feed on each other in a positive way," DeShields said. "When you separate you're almost segregating the schools." For more information on middle school redistricting, visit the New Hanover County School Board's website.

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