LETTER: Harnett must address school overcrowding

Jun. 12, 2013 @ 04:58 AM

To the Editor:

The citizens of Western Harnett are dealing with a school overcrowding issue, and the county does not have a plan to resolve the issue. My husband and I moved to North Carolina in 2009 and decided to purchase our first home. We planned to stay through my husband's military retirement at Fort Bragg to provide school stability for our children. When we started looking at houses, the most important factor we took into consideration was a good school for our children.

We decided to purchase a house in Harnett County ... because of the assignment to Overhills Elementary. Our eldest son began kindergarten at OES, and we thought he would remain there through his elementary schooling. We also have another child that will be starting kindergarten in the fall.

Now, because of the overcrowding of the schools in our immediate area, we have been reassigned to Boone Trail Elementary School. We are very unhappy with the new assignment. Our children will be on the bus 30 minutes more per day. They do not know any of the teachers or the principal, and the End of Grade test scores average 10 percent lower than OES. We understand that the Board of Education had to make a hard decision, and many people would be unhappy no matter how they changed the zoning. At this point, we are very concerned about the lack of a plan to deal with the overcrowding issue ... .

To add to the current overcrowding issue, Harnett County approved the construction of 6,400 additional residential lots in the nearby Lexington Plantation neighborhood ... . This growth will benefit the entire county with additional property and sales tax revenue, but none of this increased revenue will go to the construction of new schools ... .

Due to the uncertainty of this situation, we have decided to homeschool our children. The county cannot guarantee that we will not be rezoned again, and we do not know when or if they will build more schools. We do not want our children to be shuffled around from year to year. ...

The boards of Education and Commissioners will hold a joint meeting on July 23 at 9 a.m. We need to generate enough support and show up to this meeting. If we do not have a great turnout, I fear the commissioners will not place the levy on the ballot.

Amy and Steve Herman