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Durham School Board approves plan to move thousands of students in 2024

School Bus in Durham, NC
Dave DeWitt
School Bus, Durham Public Schools, NC

The Durham Public School Board voted 6-to-1 Thursday to approve new boundary lines that will lead to thousands of elementary students changing schools in the fall of 2024.

The school board and district leaders have been working on this redistricting plan, called “Growing Together,” for several years. They intend for it to relieve overcrowding in some schools. The policy passed Thursday night will require around 2,000 kindergarten and first grade students to change schools.

“This is something that has been a long time coming but it doesn't mean that it makes it easier for families who are going to experience this transition,” said Bettina Umstead, the chair of the Durham School Board. “I think that I hold that challenge in one hand and I also hold the opportunities that come in the other.”

The plan creates five regions — each with school-based magnet programs, Pre-K and language immersion — with the intent of providing more equitable access to those programs to students across the district.

A previous version of the plan included reassigning three times as many students, but changes that allowed fourth and fifth graders to stay at their current schools reduced the overall number.

The Durham School Board is expected to vote on student reassignment plans for middle-and-high-school students later this spring.

Liz Schlemmer is WUNC's Education Reporter, covering preschool through higher education. Email:
Dave DeWitt is WUNC's Feature News Editor. As an editor, reporter, and producer he's covered politics, environment, education, sports, and a wide range of other topics.
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