COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools held the seventh of eight district boundary meetings Wednesday night at Lange Middle school from 7 to 9 p.m. The meetings gave parents a chance to voice their opinion for the district's new school boundary proposals.
Parents brought up concerns involving free and reduced lunches, kids keeping their friends, travel times, and diversity, among others. The general concensus at the forum was that few parents want to deal with the redistricting but the they understand it's necessary.
Kurt Zweiful is the parent of a third grader. He said he's preparing for his child's future transition.
"It is his future and its very important," Zweiful said, "It's very important where I need to at least know about these schools and where he's going to school."
Zweiful also stressed the importance of commenting about the redistricting via comment form, forum, or online. Don Ludwig, Chairman of the Secondary Education Committee said there are more than 850 comments as of Wednesday from people in the school district. Ludwig said the committee will be sifting through those comments in the coming weeks to help narrow down the redistricting options.
The district plans to change school boundaries to accommodate a new high school that will open for the 2013 school year. CPS needs to choose between three final plans for the new school boundaries.
The change will affect students in six middle and junior high schools, along with the existing two high schools. The new high school, Muriel William Battle High, is the newest high school to be built in Columbia in almost 40 years.
The public input portion of the redistricting process is nearing completion. Wednesday's meeting is the second to last meeting out of eight. The last meeting will be at Gentry Middle School on Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. Then the CPS Board of Education plans to review the feedback in December and vote on the new boundaries in February.
Starting in 2013, junior high and middle schools will be called "intermediate schools," holding grades 6 through 8. The district said the redistricting will eliminate 63 mobile classrooms.
Redistricting plans began in January 2011. The Secondary Enrollment Planning Committee in charge of the new boundaries consists of 15 CPS employees and ten community members.
Follow this link to see the different boundary plans.