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Durham School System Plans to Shuffle Students

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DURHAM — Too many students at some schools. Too few at others. Durham School leaders said that the schools need equal numbers.

Some parents are worried about where there kids will be going to school.

This situation started with the change of a magnet school to a neighborhood school. The changeover will impact the attendance zones of four elementary schools.

The tough assignment for the Durham Public Schools is how to make the change while affecting the fewest number of students.

Most parents in Durham, or just about anywhere else, do not want their students shuffled when re-zoning occurs.

Felicia Bennett has two kids at Watts Elementary. A school that is right in the middle of a possible change in attendance zones.

"I don't think they should re-zone all the schools," Bennett said. "Some of them may need re-zoning due to overcrowding, but if the school is already running fine and the classes are not that large, I think they should leave it alone."

The Durham school system said that it can not just leave it alone. One magnet elementary will convert to a neighborhood school. Overcrowded schools like Watts Elementary may need to shift students to other schools.

Administrators said that they will try to make moves by disturbing as few students as possible.

"People are very attached to their schools and people recognize that changing schools can be a difficult experience, at least in the short run for many kids," Assistant Superintendent David Holdzkom said. "So we understand that there's a lot of emotion involved with that."

Parents said that no matter who has to move, what happens inside the classroom is the most important factor.

"As long as they have the right teacher, a teacher that's doing their job, kids are gonna learn," Bennett said. "It doesn't matter what kind of problems that they have on the outside."

A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday night at the school board office. A vote on the re-zoning is expected. If there are changes notices could go out as soon as next Thursday.

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Mark Roberts, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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