ELKINS - Several parents offered their negative opinions about proposed school zoning changes to the Randolph County Board of Education Wednesday, but after hearing them out, the BOE voted to enact the changes.
Three parents spoke before the board to express their concerns about what could happen if their children are forced to go to a different school.
Hoy Ferguson, of Elkins, said he was concerned about his child switching to a different school because she is exceeding expectations at her current school.
"My daughter would be affected by the proposed rezoning. I would like to first applaud the board's decision at the May 21st board meeting to table any decisions made regarding rezoning. As parents, we continuously strive to provide as much stability as possible, within our homes," Ferguson said.
"Rezoning students certainly has an impact on that stability and rarely has a positive impact on those students," Ferguson said. "Further, when such a disruption to the students learning environment occurs it is important to have the input of the parents whose child is being affected."
Norma Lambert, who lives in the Bemis/Glady area, said children should have the choice of what school to go to and that she didn't think money was more important than the students' education.
"I stand before you not as a parent but as someone who has a voice for several children who are not here to be heard. They have always had the right and they have chosen where they would like to go to school. They live in Glady and Bemis. They have chosen whether to go to Elkins or to go to Harman and the majority of them have chosen to go to Harman," Lambert said.
"I know on paper the rezoning sounds like it's best for the budget and for the kids, but for their peace of mind and for their growing and for their education, is that really what's best for them?" she said. "Is a few dollars here, a few dollars there, is that more important than making our children grow, and strive, and continue their education?"
Susan Cruz, of Glady, rounded out the public comment section of the meeting by saying she thinks rezoning would be a mistake.
"You are messing with our kids' future, their education. Are they gonna get lost in the cracks by going to the high school or going to the middle school? I just think it's going to be a mistake and I really wish you guys would sit back and look at our children," Cruz said.
Later in the meeting, all the BOE members voted in favor of rezoning except for Ed Tyre, who voted against it.
BOE President Lisa Wamsley said she hopes everything works out for the parents of students who will be rezoned.
"You know, this isn't always the popular position to be in and when my children went to Homestead, they were out of school, so I transported them to school, and I understand your position as parents that you want the best for your kids," Wamsley said. "Hopefully this will work out."
The school zone revisions include:
- Sullivan's Crossing and Haddix Road will be included in the Jennings Randolph Elementary School zone. Ward Road south of Sullivan's Crossing will be in the Midland Elementary School zone.
- Downtown Elkins - including Kerens Avenue and Henry Avenue - will attend Jennings Randolph Elementary School.
- Bemis, Glady and surrounding areas will attend Jennings Randolph Elementary School, Elkins Middle School and Elkins High School.
- The Elkins Rehabilitation Care Center will be the division between Beverly Elementary and Midland Elementary School zones.
- Boundary Avenue becomes the furthest line east for Elkins Third Ward Elementary attendance in the Elkins City Park area. McQuain Drive, Marro Drive and Sycamore Street east of Boundary Avenue to Harpertown Road will become residents of the North Elementary School zone.
- Northern Arnold Hill Road to Cupp's Farm will be in the Midland Elementary School zone and the southwestern part of Arnold Hill Road and back to Country Club Road will be in the Beverly Elementary School zone.
The next regular meeting of the Randolph County Board of Education is slated for 6 p.m. June 24 at the Central Office, with a reception to honor employee retirements at 5:30 p.m.