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Latest Eastover boundary options well-received

Parents discuss proposals to reduce overcrowding at Eastover Elementary in break-out sessions.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools yesterday scrapped a proposal that would shift students from the overcrowded Eastover Elementary to Myers Park Traditional. The district is trying to bring Eastover's attendance below 500. WFAE's Simone orendain reports the news brought calm to parents who attended a meeting last night on redrawing Eastover's boundaries. With 589 students, Eastover Elementary is overcrowded. The school in Eastover, is within close proximity to First Ward uptown and the Myers Park, Elizabeth and Dilworth neighborhoods. District officials saw Eastover's attendance numbers start to swell three years ago and tried to come up with new boundaries, but parents fought hard to keep them the same. Now, with no land to add mobile classrooms, all sorts of building space is being used, including splitting the auditorium into two classrooms. About 200 parents from Eastover, Myers Park Traditional and Elizabeth Traditional attended the meeting last night. Many were glad the district nixed a plan to move 113 Eastover students to Myers Park Traditional, which meant shuffling displaced Myers Park students to First Ward Elementary. District officials say in the end they couldn't find a reasonable way to do this. Myers Park parent Isabel Bader was relieved. "So I think that they have now listened to us and they're coming back with more logical ideas. So I feel like we're making progress," she said. Student Placement Director Scott McCully presented three scenarios based on community input. The maps reduce the Eastover attendance boundaries. In one scenario, Myers Park Traditional and Elizabeth Traditional go from being full magnet schools to offering partial magnet programs in order to absorb some Eastover students. In the two other cases, Dilworth Elementary becomes an adjacent neighborhood school. Dilworth currently has an arts magnet program, that under the plans would be shifted to First Ward Elementary. About two thirds of students at Dilworth are African American and more than half receive a free or reduced price lunch. Eastover is a low-poverty, mostly white school. Eastover parent Alex Smiley likes the community options. "There's no question we have to change the boundaries in some way," he says. "But we need to do it in an equitable way so that we're not shifting families all over the place. And I do think the last three plans I've seen, at least address this a lot more." McCully emphasized that the district is open to more suggestions on the options. The school board is scheduled to vote on the new boundaries on November 10th.