2/23/16 Board signs off on elementary rezoning

Board signs off on elementary rezoning
By Isaac Groves, The Times-News 2/23/16    
Reprinted with permission.      

   The Alamance-Burlington Board of Education voted unanimously to go ahead with an elementary school rezoning plan doing away with “satellite zones” and moving about 670 students next school year.

   The redistricting would take effect July 1, Alamance-Burlington School System Superintendent Bill Harrison said.

   The district started last summer alleviating overcrowding at Newlin Elementary School by eliminating its satellite zone. That left two other desegregation-era satellite zones between West Webb and Rauhut streets for Grove Park and Smith elementary schools. Eliminating those will mean shuffling 526 students among six elementary schools in Burlington.

   The plan would put 118 students in Smith’s satellite zone into the zone of Hillcrest Elementary School on West Davis Street, and 21 would be drawn into the zone for Eastlawn Elementary School on Vaughn Road.

   The additional students would overcrowd Hillcrest, so 111 of its current students would instead be drawn into Grove Park Elementary’s zone, and 33 would be drawn into Smith’s zone — not its satellite zone.

   With the elimination of the Grove Park satellite zone, 77 students would be drawn into the zone of Altamahaw-Ossipee Elementary School on N.C. 87 North, well outside the city to the northwest, and 65 would be drawn into Hillcrest’s zone.

   Forty-five students would be drawn out of Grove Park’s zone — not the satellite — and drawn into the zone of Andrews Elementary School, which is on Buckingham Road off North Church Street, and 56 students would be drawn into Smith’s zone.

   The changes would also send 77 students from Turrentine Middle School to Western Alamance Middle School, and 71 students from Williams High School to Western Alamance High School, Harrison said.

   Board member Patsy Simpson asked about a shift in the line between the Hillcrest and Andrews zones where it moves a block east at Apple and Rosenwald streets instead of following the main dividing line of N.C. 62.

   “It’s just a very few children, but it’s very confusing to have one block of Apple Street at Hillcrest and the others at Andrews,” Simpson said. “If we approve this could you please go back and look at that again?”

   He agreed to look at that line again.

   Harrison said he had also looked into the concern of the parent of a student moving from Grove Park to A-O, 8 to 12 minutes from their home, who said Hillcrest was a more reasonable option.

   “That parent is probably closer to Hillcrest, but we had to draw that line somewhere,” Harrison said.

   Board member Tony Rose asked about moving the middle and high school students. Harrison said the plan would keep “clean feeder patterns” from elementary to middle to high schools.

   Harrison acknowledged that Western High School was already crowded, but the high school redistricting plan expected to be finished in December would address that possibly by extending the Williams zone to the Guilford County line. The high school redistricting priority is relieving serious overcrowding at Southern Alamance High School.

   “Our plan is to have these students go to the school in that particular elementary district, and it will be a little tight for a couple of years, but not nearly as tight as it is at Southern,” Harrison said.

   Rose said the district needs to do something to show Western families there was a plan to relieve overcrowding there.

   “We’re saying we’re going to build an airport by the time the plane gets there,” Rose said.