Three proposals are on the table for rezoning the Woodstock/Northaven school boundaries, and many parents at a public meeting at Woodstock Middle School gym on Tuesday night weren't pleased with any of them.
The Shelby County Schools (SCS) board is expected to take up the issue of rezoning the area in the northern part of the county at its next meeting on March 31st. They'll consider one of three proposals:
1) zone all Woodstock-area high school students to Trezevant High School, an iZone school in Frayser.
2) zone all Woodstock-area high school students to Bolton High School.
3) enter into an agreement with Millington Municipal Schools to educate and transport any Woodstock-area high school school students who want to attend Millington High School.
The need to rezone was first addressed last year, after municipalities began forming their own school districts following the consolidation of SCS with Memphis City Schools. At that time, the Woodstock area was promised a new high school, but that option is no longer on the table.
Parents weren't happy about that. Many at Tuesday's meeting called for a new high school in the Woodstock community, but a representative from the SCS administration informed the crowd that, if a high school were built, it would only have 283 students.
SCS board members indicated that some parents had previously voiced concern over the first proposal to send high schoolers to Trezevant, citing fears of gangs and violence. But board memb
er Stephanie Love said those fears were unfounded.
"Parents have been worried about gangs and violence, but I told them that Trezevant has a new principal. And the violence is very low," Love said.
While most parents agreed that Bolton High School was a well-performing school, they were concerned about their kids being bused to a school in Arlington, 26 miles away from Woodstock Middle.
"My concern is that school times are so early, and if you send [the students] to Bolton, it's going to be hard on these children," said Christy Tillman, who told board members her daughter has to get up at 5 a.m. just to make it to school in her own neighborhood.
Charlotte Smith voiced concern over the proposal to allow students to opt into the Millington school system because she feared Millington would "cherry-pick" students, only allowing in kids with good grades or athletic skills.
But at the end of the meeting, Love had some harsh words for the upset parents who had negative things to say about other schools.
"I've heard that this school doesn't like that school, but I believe that comes from the parents. There is something going on when I go to Northaven and talk to the eighth graders, and they say they don't want to come [to Woodstock]," Love said. "If it's really about the children, we need to put whatever [rivalries] happened in the '60s and '70s aside."
After the meeting, one parent stood up in the bleachers and yelled, "Now we need to all save up for private school!"