Photo by Mackenzie Brough
For the second time in two weeks, Chapel Hill parents are up in arms about the school district’s language-program recommendations.
This time, the drama is at Frank Porter Graham Elementary, where parents are disturbed by the recommendation that the school go from a neighborhood school to a magnet school for a Spanish dual-language program in 2013-14.
“I’m not against dual-language,” says Laura Morgan, who has two children at FPG. “I just don’t want to lose our school.”
Parents are worried that FPG, which has been a neighborhood school since it opened in 1962, will lose its diversity – there are 41 nationalities represented by its students – and that the change will negatively impact the Karen Burmese refugees whose children live nearby and can walk to the school.
“All across the country, we’re busing kids for diversity,” says Ellen Manning, “now we’re busting up a school because we’re diverse?”
They also believe that FPG is in the midst of a turnaround under new principal Dr. Rita Bongarten, who has been there two years, and that dismantling the school while it’s on an upswing doesn’t make any sense. Assistant Superintendent for Support Services Todd LoFrese says that the district is collecting feedback to share with the Board of Education on May 17, which is also when officials will make their final recommendation on this plan to the Board.
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