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Local parents, students oppose school redistricting
by Christine Fonville
October 22, 2013 05:52 PM | 2596 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
More than 200 students, parents and teachers came out last week to protest redistricting plans affecting Smith-Barnes, Cotton Indian and Stockbridge elementary schools and Eagle’s Landing and Union Grove high schools.

Maps showing the proposed redistricting areas were on display at the Henry County Board of Education meeting.

“After the September meeting, I asked board member Erik Charles specifically about rumored plans I’d heard from another parent that Stockbridge Elementary and Smith-Barnes Elementary were closing and kids would be moving around,” said Stockbridge resident Trenda Jones. “He told me there were no plans being discussed at that time and I’m very annoyed at best to learn now that there are maps already drawn with redistricting plans.”

She said she and many other parents were “on the defensive” because of the lack of communication between the board and the community.

If the redistricting plans go into effect, Smith-Barnes Elementary students would be split between Stockbridge elementary and Cotton Indian elementary schools.

Patrick Henry High School, the county’s alternative school, would move into the old Smith-Barnes building.

Residents from neighborhoods including Magnolia Grove, St. Andrews and The Summit at Eagle’s Landing, whose children would move to Eagle’s Landing High School if the redistricted zones are put into place, attended the meeting in groups of about 50 people.

Each speaker opposed the plans.

Lisa Davis, whose children attend Union Grove High School, echoed many attendees who said they specifically moved to the area so their children could attend Union Grove cluster schools.

“My kids take advantage of special programs and AP credited courses that Eagle’s Landing doesn’t offer,” she said.

Davis also said the differences in the distances between her neighborhood and the two high schools will negatively affect transportation and costs for her family.

Charles thanked the crowd and then told residents to keep showing up and voicing their concerns.

“I first got notice of these changes in November of last year and I opposed them then and still do now,” he said.

What's next? The redistricting vote will take place Dec. 9.

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