Students at as many as eight Cabarrus County elementary schools might have to change schools under a redistricting plan that's the subject of a public hearing Monday.
Students at A.T. Allen, Charles E. Boger, W.R. Odell, Rocky River, Harrisburg, Bethel, W.M. Irvin and Mount Pleasant elementary schools could be affected by the changes.
The plan could also affect middle- and high-school attendance areas.
Parents and other residents can voice their opinions at the hearing, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Monday at the county's Education Center, 4401 Old Airport Road in Concord.
Some parents, including many from Harrisburg, are lining up to oppose the plan.
"I understand that with growth comes change," said Linda Turner, who lives in the Bradford Park subdivision and has a kindergartner at Harrisburg Elementary. "But we're not one of the newer neighborhoods that have caused the overgrowth. I just don't understand why they're taking us."
The school system is shifting students because two new elementary schools are set to open next fall: Patriots Elementary School, off Rocky River Road in Concord, and the new A.T. Allen Elementary School in Concord.
Holly Blackwelder, chairwoman of the Cabarrus County Board of Education, said redistricting will fill the new schools and relieve overcrowding in several others.
She pointed to Harrisburg Elementary, which was designed to hold 1,068 students. This year, 1,085 students are enrolled.
The new schools are being built to hold 1,000 students each.
"Everybody wants to have a new school, but nobody wants to be the one to go," Blackwelder said. "We are going to do what makes the most sense and is the best plan for all the kids of Cabarrus County."
Board member Cindy Fertenbaugh said she's heard from several people who don't want their children moved.
"Sometimes people get really embedded at one school," she said. "It's a comfort issue."
At Monday's hearing, Turner, who has lived in Bradford Park since 1995, will stress the longstanding relationship between her neighborhood and Harrisburg Elementary, where she and her neighbors have volunteered and been involved in the PTA. Proposed changes would move Bradford Park children from Harrisburg to Patriots Elementary.
Susan Clarke, who also lives in Bradford Park and has a child at Harrisburg Elementary, said that in past meetings school board members have said they want school attendance areas to be based on distance, transportation costs, natural boundaries and how much the schools' enrollment could grow in the future.
But Clarke said sending children from her neighborhood to Patriots Elementary - which is about 5 miles from her home, rather than Harrisburg Elementary, which is 3 miles away - contradicts those factors.
Amy Ma, another Bradford Park resident who plans to speak at the hearing, said a petition circulating in the neighborhood had about 190 signatures last week.
Middle- and high-school districts could be affected, Blackwelder said, because they use a "feeder plan," which tries to allow students who attend an elementary school together go to the same middle and high schools.
"We've tried to keep them together, but it's getting harder and harder to do that," board member Carolyn Carpenter said.
After the public hearing, the school board will meet in a work session to hear proposals for middle- and high-school redistricting.