Parent Committee offers alternatives to East Hamilton rezoning
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB)- Hamilton County parents continue their organized efforts to stop the rezoning of East Hamilton school districts. A parent committee met Saturday afternoon to finalize their message to the school board.
After a backlash from upset parents, the school board tabled the vote on the rezoning of East Hamilton County schools earlier this month.
The board suggested parents form a committee. That committee says they are prepared to offer other solutions.
In efforts to alleviate overcrowding at East Hamilton Middle and High School, the school board is proposing rezoning some of those students to Ooltewah.
Taking time out of their busy Saturday schedules, these east Hamilton parents met to discuss their concerns on the proposal.
"When you start shifting these children, you really aren't going be solving the problem," says parent Steve Purcell.
Purcell is part of the seven member parent committee, working as the voice for families that would be affected by the rezoning.
He and others say the school board needs to slow down and consider other options.
"They can table the rezoning and give us time to come up with better suggestions for their rezoning effort," says Purcell.
Many ideas are being thrown on the table.
"Can we not have just a few portable classrooms to get us over the next few years until we can get a middle school built?" asks Nancy Taylor.
Taylor has a 4th grader at Westview Elementary and a 9th grader at East Hamilton.
For her, it is about maintaining stability.
"Under the plan, my daughter would spend an hour, to two hours on the bus everyday," says Taylor.
For other parents, there is the concern of where their children would end up.
"What is their proposal, if anything, to improve the schools where my children will be going?" asks Ray DeJong.
Parents support putting in portable classrooms at East Hamilton. They are asking for 10 at a cost of around $1 million. A small price to pay, they say.
"That will address with immediateness, the issue with the overcrowding," says Purcell.
They also want the board to create open enrollment for Ooltewah Middle and High, allowing parents, if they choose, to have their students go there.
Overall, they just want the board to 'rethink' the proposal.
"I just hope that the school board will listen to us," says Taylor.
Under the current proposal, East Hamilton Middle and High school students could finish out school where they started, they just have to find their own means of transportation.
The parent committee plans to present its ideas to the school board.