Earlier this week the New Hanover County School Board voted to do away with some controversial redistricting proposals. Bussing kids to schools across town is no longer a viable option. The redistricting plan now being discussed is based on the philosophy of neighborhood schools, but not everyone is thrilled about this option. The principal of Sunset Park Elementary School said the school board promised to hold three public forums to discuss three redistricting maps, and that it is not fair to remove two options before all the forums have been held and all voices have had a chance to be heard. Elizabeth Kruczkowski's daughter is in kindergarten at Sunset Park Elementary School. She wanted to voice her opinion on the redistricting maps at the last two public forums, but didn't have transportation to get there. "I don't feel that we're being given a choice. Truly I think that because a lot of lower income families can't get out and can't go to these places, that we're just being told what to do," Kruczkowski said. She was hoping to discuss three plans at the third and final forum in downtown Wilmington where she lives. Now that those two maps are out of the question, she won't have the chance, and that is something the district PTA president disagrees with. "It's my job and duty to uphold the motto one child one voice, and I feel that by taking options off of the table before every parent has had their chance to put their opinion in, then we're really not going by that motto,” said Stephanie Kraybill of the NHC Council of PTA’s. 89 % of Sunset Park's students are on free or reduced lunch, and last year the school did not reach its adequate yearly targets. Principal of Sunset Park Diane Bell said, "We love the students we have they're doing all they can to improve their test scores teachers are working as hard as they can." Principal Bell said the 2 maps that were voted down may have benefited her school. "There could have been higher socio-economics. I believe that was the goal at one time with 5 and 6 and there could have been an increase in test scores. There could have been an increase in parental involvement." And better test scores could have meant more money for teachers and a higher morale. Even though there's only one redistricting plan left, Kruczkowski said she will find a way to get to the next public forum so she can talk about what's best for her daughter. "If you want a voice you have to go and you have to be there and you have to say how you feel about it." The final redistricting map will be discussed at a public forum on October 21st at 6:30 p.m. at Freeman School of Engineering in downtown Wilmington.
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