Families protest Atlanta schools rezoning - CBS46 News

Atlanta parents speak out about rezoning

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Redistricting was  not on Monday night's agenda for the Atlanta School Board but that did not stop parents from showing up to speak out.

"There are a lot of upset people," said Shawnna Hayes Tavares, president of Southwest and Northwest Atlanta Parents and Partners for Schools.

Among them are parents from Mary Lin Elementary School. A parent stood outside school district headquarters Monday evening, handing out T-shirts.

They read "Live, Walk, Learn."

Melissa Uppelschoten said parents at the school worry the district will pick a map that does not call for the elementary school to expand.

"Promises made. Promises kept," said Uppelschoten. "We want our expansion. We saw the blueprints."

Tavares said families with children at Parks Middle School are also upset that their school may close.

Parks was among dozens of schools flagged for cheating on standardized tests so students would pass.

"First the cheating scandal, "said Tavares. "Then new administrators took over. Now, the school may close. That community has been hard hit."

The district said it welcomes community input.

"You can never make everybody happy in these redistricting efforts," said school spokesman Keith Bromery. "I've been through a number of these and it's not about making everybody happy. It's about balancing the student enrollment and doing what makes sense from an efficiency standpoint."

On Sunday, dozens of protesters carried signs and marched from their Brookwood Hills neighborhood to E. Rivers Elementary School on Sunday.

Shannon Cox has a child in the fourth grade at E. Rivers and one in the sixth grade at Sutton Middle.

"The issue here is that Brookwood Hills has been zoned out of E. Rivers, our neighborhood elementary school that's just one mile up on Peachtree Road," said Cox.

Cox and other parents who protested want APS to leave their school zone alone.

"We will continue as a community to voice our opinions, demanding to be heard in this process," said Cox.

Parents like Elizabeth Wickland said they feel the redistricting options APS is considering will have a negative impact on their kids and their community.

"We don't want to be pulled out to a different community with different interests than ourselves," said Wickland.

APS hired consultants to review the schools in all of its zones. Consultants generated the district's first redistricting proposal in 10 years. APS said changing boundary lines is now necessary to relieve overcrowding in some schools and to fill seats in others.

But parents like Lesley Carroll are fighting the changes.

"With the new elementary school they are proposing, we will be going there with people who live in areas where we have no similar interests," said Carroll.

Carroll said she wants her kids to still be able to walk to school. The proposed changes will not allow them to do so.

"Keep these children together and keep them walking," said Carroll.

The district expects to choose a final redistricting plan by April.

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