Dozens of local residents left the Forsyth County Board of Education building frustrated Tuesday night after the board approved a final draft of the county’s school redistricting map at its regular meeting.
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The vote passed 4-1 with Chairwoman Kristin Morrissey dissenting. The issue has garnered attention the last two-and-a-half months, going so far as toprompt a lawsuit from a group ofparents who live in southern Forsyth County who allege the process has not been transparent.
“I think we all entered this process hoping for the best resolution but realizing it was going to be difficult to achieve,” Morrissey said. “Finding a balance between reaching the right number of students at Denmark and also reducing overcrowding at our existing schools has been very hard. As a board, we need to ensure quality and equity at each of our schools, but we also must balance the reality of what we are dealing with, [and that] is real students and not just numbers on a map.”
Some of those students spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, where they urged the board to vote against the plan.
“[The board] knows junior year is hard – everyone says junior year is the hardest year of high school,” said Lambert High School sophomore Erin Hanley. “That’s when you’re trying to figure out your life, that’s when you want to start taking your AP classes. The biggest reason I want to stay at Lambert is because I know the teachers and I know the staff and I know everyone there. I thought going into this [meeting,] maybe they’ll be flexible, and it just sucks that we have to move right in the middle. It’s just not fair.”
District 3 board member Tom Cleveland said Tuesday he recognized the process was an emotional one.
“We’ve all been through this and it’s a very traumatic, emotional time for our kids,” he said. “We understand that.”
He, along with other board members, have previously said they are looking at the overall picture, though – which is to populate Denmark High School and reduce overcrowding at existing schools.
In addition to voting on the map, the board chose not to alter a sibling policy they had previouslyindicated they would change. The modification would have amended FCS’ policy regarding the grandfathering in of younger students who currently have older siblings attending county high schools.
Tuesday night’s action was the final vote on redistricting, although it was unclear what the outcome of the recent lawsuit would be.