New maps leave many feeling unrepresented

Tue, 12/18/2007 - 4:57pm
By: Letters to the ...

I am the mother of two children who attend Huddleston Elementary School. My background is in clinical psychology, and I have worked with children and families in the mental health field for many years. We live in a Stevens Entry neighborhood, south of Ga. Highway 54.

I would first like to commend you on your hard work and dedication to this very difficult redistricting process.

I am writing on behalf of the concerned parents and children of these Stevens Entry neighborhoods, which are south of Hwy. 54. We were shocked and disturbed after finding out on Dec. 13, just two days ago, that our neighborhoods are being considered for redistricting. This is a last-minute change. We are also very concerned that the board could vote on this matter as early as Monday.

We know that you have been working diligently on Maps A and B for at least six months, but none of these included redistricting of our neighborhoods. This last-minute change, which is part of the new maps AB and BA, caught us off guard.

Other neighborhoods were afforded time to understand their situation, and, on Dec. 3, given the opportunity to express their concerns to you. Those concerns were taken seriously enough to cause change to the proposed plans.

The Stevens Entry neighborhoods, on the other hand, are not being afforded these same opportunities. I hope you understand that this makes us feel under-represented and “irrelevant” to this whole process.

After learning about these most recent changes, we have questions and some serious concerns about the proposed plan to move Stevens Entry children to Crabapple Lane Elementary School.

First, we understand that there is minimal growth in the Huddleston Elementary School area, including the Stevens Entry neighborhoods. In addition, Huddleston Elementary is reportedly not at full capacity. Therefore, we cannot understand the reason for the move, especially given the important goal of minimizing the number of student disruptions.

Secondly, we are very concerned about the potentially problematic feeder patterns that may result with the change from Huddleston to Crabapple. With the proposed change, my second grader and other neighborhood children will attend Crabapple in the fall.

When our kids reach middle school age, they will return to Booth. A great number of Crabapple students, however, will go on to other middle schools, Bennett’s Mill and Flat Rock.

As a result, friendships formed at Crabapple will be disrupted. Therefore, our children will be entering the middle school years with less social support. This may lead to mental health problems in the more vulnerable children.

So, if growth in the entire Huddleston area is minimal, and Huddleston is not overcrowded, then it doesn’t make sense to change schools and subject our children to a weakened peer group in their critical middle school years.

Finally, the distance and bus route from Stevens Entry to Crabapple concern us. The distance to Crabapple is three times the distance to Huddleston. Our children will be on the bus for a significantly longer time. This will be stressful, especially to children as young as five years old.

Also, in order to get to Crabapple from our homes, the bus will cross over two four-lane highways (54 and 74), pass three traffic lights, and cross several busy intersections, all during morning rush hour. All of these things make for a long, stressful, and potentially risky bus ride.

In conclusion, we were very surprised by this last-minute change to the redistricting maps. We appreciate your efforts to accommodate 36 out of the 38 parent requests concerning the original redistricting plan (Maps A and B).

However, we are concerned that our Stevens Entry neighborhoods have not been given the same opportunity to address the issues related to the new redistricting plan (Maps AB and BA).

Therefore, please delay all voting until we have had the chance to meet with you, understand your plans, and to make our concerns known. We would like to meet with you at your earliest convenience. We will be at the meeting on Monday.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Karen Bisgay

on behalf of the concerned citizens of Stevens Entry

Peachtree City, Ga.

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Submitted by messageinabottle on Sun, 12/30/2007 - 9:15pm.

What happened? Did FCBOE move your kids or respond to your concerns?

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