Board Votes To Move Hanes, Lowrance Students By March

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The Winston-Salem Forsyth County School Board voted Tuesday to move Hanes and Lowrance Middle School students to different buildings as soon as possible. The seven to two vote comes after parents learned the two schools are sitting on top of contaminated ground water. While the district said the buildings are safe for students and staff, parents want more proof.

Over the past couple of weeks, the majority of parents have pushed for the school board to move their children to different schools. They've also asked for updated environmental testing. The board has approved both.

"I'm just so thankful and I feel like none of our parents and none of our board ever wanted to learn so much about chlorinated hydrocarbons," Sarah Gillett said, who has a child at Hanes.

Related story: Expert: "We Don't Need To Panic" About Hanes, Lowrance

The school district said the earliest it can move students would be by March 2, so it will have less than a month to get kids into different buildings. Here's the breakdown:

- Hanes 6th graders will move to Smith Farm Elementary School

- Hanes 7th and 8th graders will move to the former Hill Middle School

- Lowrance students will all move to Atkins High School

Teachers will move with their students to the new locations. The district hopes to have all Hanes students in one location by the fall.

Most parents were pleased with the board's votes, but some felt like it would be disruptive to students.

Related story: School Board Doesn't Make Decision on Hanes, Lowrance Future

"I'm not happy with it because I'm thinking about the impact that it's going to have on the children, but it is what it is," Mashica Jefferson said, a parent.

"My daughter has been sitting out since this all came to light and as well as a lot of other students and I will be happy to get the community back together," Laura Wood said, who's child attends Hanes.

Moving the students by March will cost WS/FCS approximately $2 million. It will cost $1,599,000 to move Lowrance students to Atkins, $22,400 to move Hanes 6th graders to Smith Farm, and $523,395 to move Hanes 7th and 8th graders to Hill.

Some parents have already pulled their children out of Hanes or hope to do so. According to the district, 32 students have submitted transfers to their residential schools and 50 have put in special transfer requests to go to different schools. Those requests have to be approved by the assistant superintendent.

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