The Cabarrus County school board listened last week as nearly 60 people gave their impressions of the proposed plan to redistrict students from Jay M. Robinson to Northwest Cabarrus High School for the next school year.
The board will have its turn to be heard Monday, possibly ending the matter with a vote to approve, deny or amend the proposal or drop it completely.
Under the plan, students in 11 neighborhoods north of Weddington Road and east of Poplar Tent Road will be shifted from Robinson to Northwest Cabarrus to balance enrollment between the schools.
Proponents say the plan is necessary to ensure that enrollment at Northwest Cabarrus stays high enough for the school to continue offering a variety of the advanced placement courses that stand out on college applications.
"My daughter was told she needed six AP classes to be competitive," said Marti Soltis, who spoke at the public hearing in support of the plan.
Those against the plan gave a similar argument, saying colleges also look at a student's extracurricular activities during the admissions process.
"They start their résumés their freshman year," said parent Tish Sheets.
Some sports already have held tryouts for next year's teams.
Others who spoke asked people to consider teachers.
"Last year we lost 71 teachers," said Aimy Steele, who teaches at Northwest Cabarrus and lives in Laurel Park, one of the neighborhoods involved in the shift. "This is about what is best for our county."
Cynthia Hayes asked the board to consider the families affected by the move. "This will separate my sons. They are family," she said. She's a single parent whose closest relatives live in Michigan.
Many asked the board to table the matter until the attendance boundaries have been drawn next month for the new Harold Winkler Middle School.
"Think long term. I ask you to put the decision off," Phil Matthews said.
Board chair Wayne Williams agreed the proposal is occurring unusually late in the year. The problem, he said, stems from straying earlier from the original reassignment lines drawn for Cox Mill High School.
"We left too many people at Robinson, and at the last minute some people are trying to correct it," he said.
Superintendent Barry Shepherd said both schools offer the same opportunities for a quality education. "Regardless of where the children end up, they're going to be in good care."
The reassignment decision will be the board's first business item at its meeting Monday. It starts at 6 p.m. at the Cabarrus County Schools Education Center.