School Redistricting and Walk Zones

In some school districts there is essentially “sacred ground” when it comes to redistricting.  I am referring to Walk Zones.  In Chapel Hill – Carrboro, a walk zone is considered any property within 1.5 miles of a school. This 1.5 miles must incude a sidewalk.  For example, I live in Ironwoods which is less than 1.5 miles to Seawell Elementary but because there is no side walk all the way to the school, Ironwoods which way back when was districted to Seawell was redistricted to Carrboro Elementary.  In contrast, neighborhoods like Cates Farm and Sunset Creek have side walks all the way to McDougle Elemenatary and Middle Schools.

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro School System actually has the School Assignment and Reassignment  Policy Code: 4150 which states, “Walk Zones – Student residing within Board of Eduction approved walk zones should not be redistricted to schools not served by that walk zone.”

Based on the above policy, when there has been redistricting in Chapel Hill – Carrboro, neighborhoods in a true walk zone have not been redistricted to other schools.  Other examples of walk zones are Colony Woods and Ephesus Elementary; Meadowmont and Rashkis; Southern Village and Scroggs; Chesley, Silver Creek, and Chandlers Green and East Chapel Hill High; and Homestead Village and Chapel Hill High.

In Durham, the Department of Public instruction, only has a walk zone policy with regard to the three elementary magnet schools (Club, RN Harris and Burton Geo World).  Specifically, if a student lives within .5 mile of one of these schools, then they can attend without going through the “magnet application lottery process.”  There is no such policy for magnet middle or high schools and no policy in regard to schools on regular or year-round schedules.

Wake County does not have a walk zone policy.