New Hanover school board passes redistricting maps for 2020-21

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Thousands of New Hanover County students will be heading to different schools next year after the school board voted Tuesday night to approve a redistricting plan.

On November 20, the redistricting committee voted unanimously on a map to present at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. That map impacts 2,415 elementary school students and 526 middle school students.

The vote was 5-2 with Stefanie Adams and Judy Justice making the dissenting votes. The elementary and middle school realignments will take place for the 2020-21 school year, meaning nearly 3,000 students will be heading to different schools next year.

Dozens of parents and community members came to Tuesday night’s meeting to speak out against the proposed redistricting plan. Some voiced their concerns about proximity to their neighborhoods.

“My daughter could walk 50 feet to get on the bus to go to Noble, but she has to go 15 miles to go to Holly Shelter instead of two miles to Noble,” said parent Kevin Hennessey. “That does not make sense.”

The goal is to reduce overcrowding at some schools by sending students to other schools with larger capacities, such as the brand new Porter’s Neck Elementary School, which will open next year.

Others argued that the proposed map would keep students of color unfairly segregated.

“I am the parent of a black child by adoption, and I have come face-to-face with the questions that parents of black children have asked for ages,” said parent Emily Glenham. “‘Will they be denied access and opportunities that will impact the rest of their lives?'”

To the dismay of many, the board voted in favor of the redistricting plan despite their objections. Rebecca Trammel, representing a large group of people against the plan, reacted to the decision.

“They could have stopped this, they could’ve paused it and said ‘you know what, wait a second guys, what we’re doing is unfair,'” Trammel said. “Yet again, black children in this town are an afterthought.”

David Wortman, school board member and chair of the redistricting committee, stood by the board’s decision.

“We started this process back in April, so it’s been nine months. We’ve had numerous meetings with our committee members, we’ve heard thousands of emails and opinions from the public,” Wortman said. “I believe we came up with maps, that although they’re not perfect, really reflect what New Hanover County wanted.”

Click here to view the map.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board postponed discussing a new school calendar, which could end summer break two weeks early.

Categories: Local, New Hanover

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