Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools recently announced feedback from the community about adjusting school boundaries.
Feedback so far points to families wanting to attend school close to their homes and neighbors. They voiced a desire to keep “neighborhoods” together, but each defines that differently.
Eighty-three percent believe neighborhoods should be kept intact and 58 percent believe subdivisions should be kept intact.
Issues could arise because the size or shape of some subdivisions, such as Providence Plantation, could create a trade-off with travel time and distance for some students.
Sixty-two percent believe communities should “always stay together regardless of tradeoffs.
Travel time and distance were considered important amongst all initial groups, with consistent support for students attending the school closest to home. Forty-five percent of community members believe bus rides more than 20 minutes should lead to a boundary review.
This feedback will help CMS determine what to think about when establishing new school boundaries. Superintendent Ann Clark said CMS would use the feedback to look at options that would address most of the board’s goals.
CMS will have to evaluate 138 schools with boundaries, which include partial magnet schools, and all 18 high school feeder patterns.
This plan is part of the district’s long-range timeline to help break up high concentrations of poverty, diminish overcrowding and set criteria for new school boundaries.
The feedback so far includes community engagement meetings through Feb. 8, including the Ardrey Kell, Providence, South Meck, East Meck and Myers Park high school clusters, as well as School Leadership Teams, principals and the January 2016 community survey. The final report will include more engagement sessions and results of a faculty survey.
Director of Student Placement Scott McCully said the community values keeping feeder patterns intact from middle to high school, more so than elementary to middle school.
Socioeconomic diversity also was addressed, but wasn’t as important to southern suburban areas. When asked what percentage of socioeconomic isolation – regardless of level of socioeconomic status is isolated – should lead to a boundary review, responses ranged from 0 to 100 percent with most responses falling between 45 and 75 percent.
Respondents also addressed overcrowding – a common problem in south Charlotte schools – with 61 percent agreeing a boundary review is needed with there is no more room for mobile classrooms or construction and the school is full.
Clark said the bond could eliminate 300 mobile classrooms.