Those of you with school-aged children know that Elizabeth is in the Eastover Elementary school attendance zone for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. We're lucky. It's a very good school. So good in fact, everyone wants to go there.
Right now 541 kids are enrolled at Eastover, in a school that's built to house about 430. There's a waiting list of 92. One third-grade class has 34 kids in it. There are 367 kids who live in the Eastover zone that attend other CMS schools. The projections for coming years show more, not fewer, children coming.
CMS policy is a school must accommodate children who live in the attendance zone. That means when a child shows up, the principal has to find a place for him or her. No matter how many hims or hers there are. CMS also has a fairly strict sibling policy, meaning if one kid gets in all the rest do too.
If you've driven by Eastover, you'll notice one thing that separates it from other schools, even other inner-city schools. It's wedged in. There's no room to add more classrooms. There's no room to even add trailers.
What is the solution? You can't tell parents who live in the Eastover zone they can't come. You can't build more space at the school. You can't go on housing 541 kids in a school build for 100 less than that, although that's exactly what will happen this year.
What about next year, when the problem will be worse? The only apparent solution is to change the attendance zone. Carve off bits and pieces and send those kids elsewhere. You can imagine how upsetting this will be to a lot of people.
Look for meetings in September to discuss changes to the attendance zone (click on "Locate your child's school," enter your address, click submit, click Go and click on "View attendance zone" under Eastover). How will it affect Elizabeth?