With the W.B. Wicker School project under construction and on schedule for its projected opening in August, the Lee County Board of Education will spend the next two months making decisions about where elementary students will attend school for the 2019-2020 year.
The board’s Facilities and Technology Committee has already met twice to set criteria for how elementary redistricting will be done – the primary issues are maintaining neighborhood integrity, efficiency of transportation and the levels of overpopulation in the district’s existing elementary schools – and commit to a calendar. A Jan. 7 meeting of the committee is set to lay out procedures for the lottery which will determine the 200-some students who will attend Wicker by choice (the remaining 700-plus will attend the school based on the redistricting).
“The three most impacted schools will be B.T. Bullock, J.R. Ingram and J. Glenn Edwards,” school board Chairman Patrick Kelly told the Rant. “But with that being said, there may be some minor tweaking necessary to the other districts.”
Because Wicker’s capacity to hold nearly 1,000 students makes it essentially “a school and a half,” Lee County Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Andy Bryan said the levels of overpopulation at the three schools Kelly mentioned, as well as the geography of those schools, means they’re natural choices to focus on in the redistricting process.
“We have 30-plus mobile units at our elementary schools, and our main goal is to put as many students as possible in brick and mortar buildings,” Bryan said. “The focus needs to be on those three schools, so that we can take off some of the pressure that’s on them.”
The board will vote on its redistricting proposal at a regular meeting on Feb. 12, and notification letters about new school assignments will be sent on Feb. 19 (you can view the current map here), but interested parents can attend meetings of the Facilities and Technology Committee on Jan. 17 and the full board on Jan. 22 at which they can see the proposed maps, and a letter to parents about the timeline for action on redistricting will be sent on Jan. 24. Further, public hearings are scheduled for Jan. 31 and Feb. 5.
“We’re having two public hearings because we want to be transparent to the public and have as much input as we can from them,” Kelly said.
As for the lottery portion for students who attend the Wicker school by choice, Bryan said “intent to enroll” paperwork will be made available on the district’s website, and the open-to-the-public random lottery will be held at a date to be determined at the Facilities and Technology Committee’s Jan. 7 meeting.
Great to hear about this! The overcrowding problem in Lee County was made worse by the Lee GOP. The majority from 2012-14 refused to build a new school, and when they were defeated, they fought tooth and nail against Wicker School. Sherry Womack made its defeat her pet project, and all of Lee County is better off because she failed.
Being able to have so many students here will really put a dent in the overcrowding problem. But, we’re going to need solid, forward-looking leadership in Lee County to solve the problem, and conservatives like Womack, Pam Sutton, Kirk Smith, and Arianna del Palazzo seem ill-suited to the task.
Interesting how they mention they have students in mobile home type buildings and they need to put them in brick buildings… Well Lee Early College has been sitting in Mobile Tin shacks for a long time and those are our best and brightest students that don’t even make the list for upgrades to their facility between now and 2024. But I am glad we are increasing the seating capacity in the gym of one school and building a fitness center at another while our students continue to sit in Mobile aluminum buildings anchored to the Back Parking lot of CCCC. If a tornado threat comes, they have to go out into the storm and seek shelter at CCCC. It is the only “A” rated school that I know of in Lee County and is considered one of NC Best schools, yet we stick these students in the back parking lot of CCCC and spend millions on other programs that do absolutely nothing to enhance learning for students or provide a safe environment for LEC. Keep cheering for feel good projects that are costing taxpayers twice as much as originally estimated and take away from other institutions. BTW how much money do I need to set aside for next year to provide our teachers with copy paper, toilet paper, tissue, Hand sanitizer, Dry Erase markers, and other administrative supplies that they beg for because apparently there isn’t enough money in the budget to supply our teachers properly. But hey we will have a seat at the next basketball game soon!!!
How exactly do you equate the building of a new school to an “unnecessary expense?” The students at elementary schools across the county are in the same predicament as the students at LEC. While I agree that they need a proper building, to call a new elementary school a frivolous expenditure is silly.