The Craven County Board of Education has been presented with four possible options for the planned 2024-25 school system redistricting. Each of the scenarios would involve relocating students across all grade levels, while three of the plans involve the closing of at least one school.
During a special called Board of Education meeting on October 2, Mike Miller from Numerix, LLC, the school system’s redistricting consultant, detailed four scenarios for the board to choose from showing newly-drawn school district lines, the data behind those maps, and the impact on students.
Miller said the main objectives behind the four scenarios were to better balance school building utilization; to explore consolidation options for repurposing Graham A. Barden and J. T. Barber elementary schools; and to maintain school feeder patterns as much as possible.
Under each of the plans presented, a number of students from Havelock High School would be transferred to New Bern High.
Miller said the process of crafting new attendance areas for 2024-25 will involve a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) database analysis of student data, current school boundaries, streets, water features and the locations of new subdivisions. among other data.
The board plans to discuss and possibly select one of the four redistricting scenarios at their work session on October 17. The next step will be community engagement sessions featuring maps and other data to allow for feedback from the public on the proposed plan. After revisions to the selected plan the board would be presented with a second draft and then take action on the final plan.
Below is a synopsis of each scenario presented Monday. The documents can be viewed under item D on the agenda here.
Under Scenario A, both Graham A. Barden Elementary, which has a capacity of 288 students, and J. T. Barber Elementary, which has a capacity of 312, would be repurposed, resulting in moves for 16 elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school.
Graham A. Barden students would be sent to Arthur W. Edwards, Havelock and W. Jesse Gurganus elementary schools. J.T. Barber students would go to Bridgeton and Oaks Road elementary schools.
Grover C. Fields Middle would send 115 students to H.J. MacDonald and Tucker Creek Middle would send 102 students to Grover C. Fields. The only high school impacted would be Havelock High, which would send 132 students to New Bern High.
Scenario A would impact approximately 1,240 K-5 students, 220 middle school students and about 130 high school students.
The systemwide building utilization rate under Scenario A would be: elementary schools-105%; middle schools 80%; high schools-87%.
The highest utilization would come at Roger Bell Elementary with 398 students, putting it at 127% utilization. Ben D. Quinn Elementary would be at 127% with 396 students. The minimum utilization would be Tucker Creek Elementary with 405 students placing it at 61%.
“It’s not really feasible to generate a scenario where every school gets 105% because people live in neighborhoods, there are transportation issues,” Miller said. “You’ve got a big old river in the middle of the county and there are only certain ways you can go across, so there is always some kind of unequalness in the utilization for these scenarios.”
In terms of impact of established offer patterns, under Scenario A Bridgeton Elementary students would advance to both H.J. MacDonald (new) and West Craven middle schools, and New Bern (new) and West Craven high schools.
Scenario B would result in the repurposing of only one school being repurposed, J.T. Barber Elementary, resulting in 145 students going to Bridgeton Elementary and 102 to Oaks Road Elementary. Graham A. Barden would remain open with a student population of 216, or a 75% building utilization.
Scenario B would see the reassignment of 890 K-5 students, 180 middle school students and 90 high school students.
The plan would result in a total of 11 elementary school moves, two middle school moves, and one high school move. There would be no student transfers from: Arthur W. Edwards, Graham A. Barden, Havelock, James W. Smith, Roger R. Bell and Trent Park elementary schools or from H.J. MacDonald and West Craven middle schools.
Under Scenario B the system-wide building utilization rates would be: elementary schools-99%; middle schools-80%; high schools-87%. The highest utilization rate would be at Ben D. Quinn Elementary at 127%, Roger Bell at 126%, and Trent Park Elementary at 125%. The minimum utilization would be Grover C. Fields Middle at 65%.
Changes in feeder patterns would occur at Bridgeton Elementary, which would feed into H.J. MacDonald (new) and West Craven middle schools, followed by New Bern High (new) along with West Craven High. Brinson Memorial would also add H.J. MacDonald Middle as a feeder school to the existing Grover C. Fields Middle
Miller described Scenario C as the “flip side” of Scenario B, with Graham A. Barden Elementary being repurposed instead of J.T. Barber Elementary. Graham A. Barden students would be assigned to Arthur Edwards, Havelock and W. Jesse Gurganus elementary schools.
The total number of impacts under Scenario C would be 13 elementary school moves, two middle school moves and one high school move, resulting in the reassignment of 800 K-5 students, 220 middle school students, and 130 high school students.
Havelock, J.T. Barber, James W. Smith, Oaks Road, Roger R. Bell and Trent Park elementary schools would not move students. No moves would be required for H.J. MacDonald, Havelock and West Craven middle schools as well.
Under Scenario C nine schools would be at more than 100% utilization, with Roger Bell and Ben D. Quinn elementary schools being the highest at 127% each and the minimum being Tucker Creek Middle at 61%.
System-wide building utilization rates would be: elementary schools-99%; middle schools-80%; high schools-87%.
If Scenario C was chosen Bridgeton Elementary would add H.J. MacDonald Middle and keep West Craven Middle as a feeder school and add New Bern High to its existing West Craven feeder school. W. Jesse Gurganus would add Havelock middle to its existing Tucker Creek Middle.
Under Scenario D all county schools would remain open, resulting in impacts for the least number of schools. The plan would see the reassignment of 440 K-5 students, 180 middle school students, and 130 high school students.
Under the plan there would be eight elementary schools moves, two middle school moves and one high school move. There would be no reassignments at Arthur W. Edwards, Graham A. Barden, Havelock J. T. Barber, James W. Smith, Oaks Road, and Roger R. Bell elementary schools. There would also be no impacts for H. J. MacDonald, Havelock or West Craven middle schools.
Since more seats would be available, building utilization rates would drop to 94% for elementary schools. Middle schools would be at 80% and high schools at 87%.
The maximum utilization rate would be 127% for Ben D. Quinn Elementary and the lowest would be 65% at Grover C. Fields Middle.
Feeder patterns would change for Bridgeton Elementary, which would add H.J. MacDonald Middle to existing West Craven Middle and New Bern High to existing West Craven High.
Brinson Memorial would add H.J. MacDonald to existing Grover C. Fields Middle as a feeder school.
By Todd Wetherington, co-editor. Send an email with questions or comments.