Update: CPS board will release new middle school boundaries in December

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COLUMBIA - A presentation a Monday's school board meeting said the proposed redistricting of Columbia school's will come out in early December. 

Parents expressed their concerns for the new middle school and are concerned that their children will have to switch schools. 

Proposed new boundaries for the district are a result of overcrowding issues. This needs to be finalized before the 2020 school year.

Scott Leopold is the consultant for the project. He announced Monday night they will be creating an application process for a focus group to create the preliminary boundaries. If there are too many applicants, the district will do a lottery process for equal representation. 

"My goal is to make these processes as relaxing as possible," said Leopold. 

Leopold said the focus group is not the decision-making group, but rather there to share input and feedback. He said the biggest challenges are capacity and transportation.

"Some districts say, well we're not going to provide the transportation," said Leopold. "When you say that, you're kind of giving favor to segments of the community that have the means to transport themselves."

Many parents spoke during public comment that their children will be greatly affected by the proposed change. They agreed that the community input is now in the hands of a private consultant. 

Start2Finish is a Facebook group that started to get word out to other parents about redistricting. 

Founder Jennifer Roberts has a daughter that is a freshman at Rock Bridge High School. She said this is a dangerous time to do this to a teenager as they are still developing important life skills.

"It's very important that these high school freshman find their place, their tribe, their peers, their friend groups and get their heels dug in," said Roberts. "When she found out about this she couldn't believe it. She thought for sure they wouldn't do that."

Parents at the meeting are hoping for a grandfathering in approach, where students can stay at the school they currently attend. 

Robert says she understands the need for redistricting, but that a year of warning to prepare is not enough.

"They encourage community input. They want to know what our needs are. My concern is that they feel that listening is enough, but it's not this time," said Roberts.

There will be a survey posted on December 20th for the community to give feedback on the redistricting. 

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