Battle over Union Co. schools heating up over reassignment propo - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Battle over Union Co. schools heating up over reassignment proposal

Posted: Updated:
UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -

The battle over schools in Union County is just getting started. Hundreds of parents are learning their children will now being going to different schools thanks to a proposed new redistricting plan.

They're gearing up for a fight, and say school and county leaders should have done more to manage growth.

Parents packed a meeting Tuesday night where the county's Board of Education's Facilities Committee heard a presentation about the potential reassignment of students.

Many left the meeting, frustrated and vowing to fight.

"Our son is going to be devastated," said Sandi Snider, who told WBTV her family moved here from Raleigh area in 2012 because the county has a statewide reputation for having strong schools.

Now that Snider's son won't be going to Marvin Ridge High School --and to Weddington High School instead, she and her husband, Glen say this is a major concern.  

"I can't talk to a single neighbor who doesn't have this on the top of their worry list," he said. "I guess the frustration comes from the lack of growth management and planning."

Population growth in Union County has exploded over the past several years and parents, including the Sniders, argue country leaders have placed the priority on building homes and not schools.

"And nobody's really paid any attention to how this massive home building is going to impact schools," said Sandi Snider.  

WBTV checked housing construction numbers with Union County officials. According to county numbers, in 2008 there were 854 new single family dwellings.

Union County says in 2013 the number of single family homes increased to 1142.

"We actually saw about a 50% increase from 2012 to 2013. An additional increase of 15 - 20% would be a reasonable expectation for this year" says County spokesperson Brett Vines. "If so, we could easily see 1400 new homes in the upcoming year."

In four years for the 2018-2019 school year - Union County is predicting it will have 43,734 students, nearly 2600 more kids. Some schools have already capped their enrollment.

Snider's husband also points out other school districts --including the one they moved from -- manage growth by holding developers more accountable.

"They have developers pay development fees," he said. "You build out neighborhoods and you have the associated number of schools to go with it. Here it seems like the developers run the show."

A show, even one school board member told WBTV off camera Tuesday night is just getting started.

The Sniders agree and say parents are gearing up for the battle ahead.

"I think some of the bigger neighborhoods are going to organize and mount legal challenges," Glen Snider predicted. "I think it will have ramifications in the political community."

Union County has 53 schools with 41,147 students this school year and the highest populations are seventh, eighth, and ninth grades.

The school board will hear the new plan on Tuesday, January 21st at Monroe High School. There's no word on when the board will take a vote, but a decision must be made before the end of the current school year.

To see the redistricting lines, click here.

Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow