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Parents speak out on school redistricting plan

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EDMOND, Okla. — Parents in a standing-room only crowd took turns speaking their minds Thursday night, as the local school district considers redrawing its boundaries.

The forum at the Edmond Public Schools building focused on finding the right solution for the district’s rapidly growing population.

A new middle school is set to open in the fall but, to balance things out, some students may be headed to a different building than they anticipated.

The new plan sets up true feeder patterns for middle schools into high schools.

  • Cheyenne and Sequoyah will go to Edmond North High School.
  • Central and Cimarron will go to Memorial.
  • Heartland and Summit will go to Santa Fe.

However, eight elementary schools will now be split when they go to middle school.

  • Cross Timbers splits between Cheyenne and Sequoyah.
  • West Field splits between Summit and Heartland.
  • Frontier splits between Heartland and Cheyenne.
  • Ida Freeman splits between Cheyenne and Sequoyah.
  • Sunset splits between Cimarron, Summit and Heartland.
  • Northern Hills splits between Central and Sequoyah.
  • John Ross splits between Sequoyah and Cheyenne.
  • Heritage splits between Sequoyah and Central.

“I knew it was coming,” said Charles Woodham, a grandparent and former school principal and board member. “It’s just something that had to be done. It’s a matter of logistics, and I see people's concerns, but it will all work out.”

Concerns were on full display at the 90-minute forum, in which everyone who wished to speak had the opportunity to address the superintendent and members of the Texas-based consulting company that helped determine the redistricting.

“At this point, I think I’m just gathering the information, but frustration could follow,” said Brad Rice, who was upset to find out the homes he bought for Edmond North High School now fell outside the school’s line. “That certainly changes a lot of things for us to be sitting with a daughter who is about to graduate from Edmond North HS and a sibling who thinks that’s where he’s going to school, but he’s not.”

Rice never spoke at the podium, but plenty of others did, wondering what the redistricting would mean for their commutes and traffic.

Others worried the new boundaries would split up groups of friends or send parents scrambling across town to pick up different kids.

Still, others were concerned at the prospect of their children being sent to Central Middle School, citing lower test scores and discipline problems.

Some parents said they were unhappy with the way the district sought public input and how it hired an out-of-state company to do the research.

“I think they could have taken a more common sense approach to this process,” said parent Monte McGlothian, who wished the school board had been present for dialogue.

The district superintendent assured the public all their concerns were being heard by the school board and would be considered.

The district will hold a second public forum Feb. 18 before making a final decision Feb. 26.

Parents will have their first chance to provide feedback directly to the school district, after the administration publicly released its redistricting plans.

The district wants the boundaries to last three to five years before they will likely have to be redrawn again.