School system faces filling newly-built schools & easing overcrowding


NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Growth in Wilmington is not happening evenly which has led to some schools being overcrowded and some schools being under capacity. This problem may force some students to attend new schools starting next year.

Tuesday night, community members had an opportunity to hear and see first-hand where the county is in the process of redistricting.

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Eddie Anderson, Assistant Superintendent for Operations and Planning, says, through the community feedback and committee feedback, there are now 2 elementary school options and 2 middle school options.

“We’re opening up a brand new school so Porter’s Neck Elementary School will open with its own population of students,” Anderson said. “College Park is back at College Park. Wrightsville Beach will be moving back to Wrightsville Beach and Blair will be moving back to its brand new school in Blair.”

He says the goal is to move as few students as possible when making boundary adjustments.

“Separation between districts cut some neighborhoods in half and didn’t follow some of the geographic boundaries that we wanted to so we responded to those comments, made some adjustments and we are still doing that,” Anderson said.

The committee plans to make final recommendations for to the school board in December.

“It’s hard for not only the students, but the parents to change schools and we certainly understand that,” Anderson said.

But, one parent expressed frustration to WWAY in the set-up of the forum. Ross Patterson says he has children that attend Walter L. Parsley Elementary School and wished he got the opportunity to speak out publicly during Tuesday night’s event.

“The reason I decided to move here is because the public schools in Los Angeles are terrible,” Patterson said. “All of my friends were forced to private schools and you have to drop $30,000 a year. Not only that, you have to audition. They make the kids audition to get into Pre-K and Kindergarten and I didn’t want that for my children.”

Patterson says he dealt with redistricting as a child and didn’t want that, but the options outlined Tuesday night would move his children to Holly Tree Elementary School.

“There is nothing wrong with Holly Tree,” Patterson said. “It’s a great school. I met some of the teachers there. They’re fantastic. However, the way the traffic is set up we would have to drive past Parsley, the school that we’re districted for,  just to get to Holly Tree.”

The committee is urging everyone to submit feedback via their website.