UNION COUNTY, N.C. – A huge crowd was on hand Thursday night to hear Union County School Board members talk about proposed boundary changes that could uproot thousands of students.
The Monroe High School auditorium was filled to capacity, as others headed to the overflow gym specifically set up to accommodate the crowds.
Superintendant Dr. Mary Ellis presented the district’s facilities report, along with a list of alternative options to reassignment.
Options included building new schools, building additions to existing schools, leaving caps in place, multi-and-split tracking and adding mobile classrooms. The presentation included pros and cons, and a breakdown of associated costs.
Tes Hilaire was among the hundreds in attendance.
“I was one of the more quiet ones, but applauded at the appropriate moments,” she said.
“I think they need to attack it from more than one angle, look into grandfathering students, and seriously look into building another school in 3-5 years,” she said.
The meeting was a work session, so public comments were not allowed.
The district plans to hold a series of public forums before the board votes on the proposal in April.
Following several outbursts, Board Chairman, Richard Yercheck assured everyone, the public will get a chance to speak.
“We want to hear what you have to say, but understand that we have to take into account 42.000 students. We also represent 230,000 taxpayers in Union County,” he said.
More than 5,000 students will be affected when the lines are redrawn to ease overcrowding and population growth.
Comments are scheduled to be taken at another meeting on Feb. 4.