Superintendent talks rezoning with Ooltewah parents - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

SCHOOL PATROL: Superintendent talks rezoning with Ooltewah parents

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN. (WRCB) -- A proposal to rezone hundreds of Hamilton County students isn't getting much support from parents.

Thursday night, Superintendent Rick Smith got an ear full from Ooltewah parents, who went through rezoning three years ago, only to find out their children may be changing schools again.

Ooltewah parents are demanding school officials hit the pause button on a rezoning proposal.

"It's just not right," Ryan Ledford says. "They haven't followed the process, they haven't showed us why, how, where, when, what they are going to do long term."

Three years ago, this part of the county was rezoned to alleviate overcrowding.

Now the maps could change again.

"We've already watched the Ooltewah people sell their houses to get to East Hamilton and now be rezoned, so it's probably not a good decision," says Keri Dooley.

Keri Dooley purchased a home in the East Hamilton zone so her son could attend.

Under the proposal, he'll be sent to Ooltewah.

"I am not about property value," Smith tells the crowd. "I am about educating students."

Superintendent Rick Smith made it clear he's not in the real estate business.

But parents question his decision to move their children from high performing schools to lower scoring schools to balance enrollment.

"The parents that are there, and the ones that are going to have children go to those schools are going to need to get involved so we can bring the standard up," says Dooley.

Dooley is trying to stay positive, but worries her son could be uprooted again.

"Over the course of the next several years, we may not be at East Hamilton, but we are going to be talking about zoning," Superintendent Smith says.

That's Ryan Ledford's fear, which is why he's organizing parents against the proposal on Facebook, hoping the board won't buy into it.

"The majority of the people in the county don't realize it's a proposal, it's done, and it's not, they work for us," he says.

The school board will have to approve the rezoning plan.

They could vote as early as March 15.

VIEW MAPS: East Hamilton Rezoning Breakdown

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