Four and a half hours, three breaks and multiple revisions later, New Hanover County has a new middle school redistricting plan.
In a move some are calling "resegregation" of the school system, by a four to three vote, the county will go ahead with a revised version of map 2C. The final map alleviated overcrowding at some schools and dissolved the downtown satellite school, while still adhering to a basic neighborhood school philosophy.
The intention was also to recreate a socio-economic balance in certain schools. The map adopted Tuesday night still leaves D.C. Virgo and Williston with more than 50 percent of children who qualify for free and reduced lunch.
"Clearly we have resegregated our schools in New Hanover County," board member Elizabeth Redenbaugh, who voted against the plan, said. "We resegregated our elementary schools, and now we're resegregating our middle schools, so we're going back decades."
School board chair Ed Higgins, who voted for the plan, sees it differently.
"While we have created some funky looking districts, it was to try to best distribute the students as individuals; not because their parents were not as well to do as others or not because they were black, Hispanic, Native American or white," Higgins said.
The new map will take effect in August when Holly Shelter Middle opens. The new school will not be at capacity when it opens.