The map that you see above is one of several that have occupied nearly all of my working hours. I created that map, and I printed multiple copies of it in 24"X36" format. Monday night the new attendance areas for our district were presented to the school board, and Thursday night we went before the public.
Everything up until the public meeting had gone very smoothly. So smoothly, that I had lulled myself into the belief that this thing might pass with little or no controversy. That all changed with the public meeting.
District administrators outnumbered parents by a large number. However, one must understand that the people who turn out for these meetings are the ones who are concerned, and are usually not happy with the proposed lines. Some of the concerns raised by parents in the question and answer period were easily disputed by facts and figures. These were questions such as the actual distances and travel times between schools and equity between various schools. In this case, perception is "truth", and we might as well have been pulling numbers out of a hat. Where their children are involved, parents are ALWAYS right.
Some questions were even more troublesome than travel or school equity. It was apparent from the way the one particular set of questions was phrased that the parent did not want her children attending school with more black kids. The questions involved racial distribution, and "bad" kids. I really had to bite my tongue there.
Not all of it was disputatious, though. We actually had a couple of very vocal supporters. I was quite pleased.
We have one more public meeting Monday night, and this one will be even more contentious. One entire neighborhood is not very happy, and the president of their homeowner’s association has already contacted the district. I think I’ll see if I can find a kevlar necktie to wear.