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Forsyth County parents, community members provide feedback at latest redistricting public forum
Redistricting
West Forsyth High School Parent Kathy Schettler speaks to the Forsyth County Board of Education on Tuesday, Oct. 27, to ask them to reconsider attendance lines for North Forsyth. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

The Forsyth County Board of Education met with parents and community members on Tuesday, Oct. 27, in the North Forsyth High School auditorium for the second public forum regarding the 2021 redistricting plan.

The forum was held to discuss and provide feedback on the high school redistricting map, which was drafted to populate the new East Forsyth High School opening in August. Under the proposed map, a large group of students from North Forsyth would move to East Forsyth.

Many of those who raised concerns during the forum, however, were parents of kids attending West Forsyth High School. According to the drafted plan, the school district also plans to pull 479 students from West Forsyth to move them to North Forsyth.

Redistricting
The Forsyth County Board of Education listens as parents share feedback on the high school redistricting map during a public forum on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. - photo by Sabrina Kerns
Parents in subdivisions closer to West Forsyth said that the attendance lines for North Forsyth on the new map go too far south and to the west. Two mothers from the Hunter’s Walk subdivision off of Hurt Bridge Road said the added distance, which is almost double the distance from West Forsyth, simply does not make sense for their families.

One of the mothers who spoke, Julie Snider, said that she wants her rising freshman, sophomore and junior to stay at West Forsyth mostly for their own safety on the roads. She said that the route from home to North Forsyth is not only longer, but the roads they would have to take are more dangerous, with construction projects and busy intersections.

“Thinking of [my daughter] going that way just terrifies me,” Snider said.

Other parents brought up how difficult changes in schooling have been for their students with past redistricting plans and with the emergency plans that came with the pandemic earlier this year.

Linda Carol, who said that her kids might be redistricted from West Forsyth to North Forsyth, said that she lives right near the edge of attendance lines on the map, meaning anytime there is a change in school districting, her kids are usually impacted.

Another parent, Kathy Schettler, who lives in a subdivision off Holbrook Road said that high school years for kids can already be hard enough on their own.

“Their social network is incredibly important, and that includes the sports they participate in, the band and the clubs,” Schettler said. “I’m here to ask if we could leave the students at their current schools and the rising students enter the schools, provided that they provide their own transportation.”

Many parents followed Schettler’s request, asking that if the board did not change the attendance lines, that they at least allow their students who are already there to stay.

Forsyth County Schools spokeswoman Jennifer Caracciolo said that, as the rule stands now, rising high school seniors and eighth graders and their siblings can stay in their old school for one year as long as they provide their own transportation.

The forum Tuesday evening was the last public discussion that the school district will hold to discuss the redistricting maps for East Forsyth and Hendricks Middle schools. School staff and BOE members have begun reviewing the feedback from the forums along with feedback from an online survey, which closed on Wednesday, Oct. 28.

The BOE will discuss the public feedback during its next work session at 4 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 10. They plan to make final decisions on the maps and attendance lines at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 17.

The meetings and work sessions will be livestreamed from the district’s YouTube channel.

For more information on the 2021 redistricting plan, visit the FCS website.