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WKYT Investigates: 'The Great Divide' over school redistricting

"The Great Divide" is a joint investigation with The Lexington Herald-Leader.

Click here to view the current Fayette County district lines.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A group of neighborhood parents showed up to the last Fayette County redistricting forum with red shirts and the name of their subdivision, Stuart Hall, printed on the front. "Our neighborhood is suffering. Our neighborhood is broken over this issue," explained Andrea McGuire.

The issue is not a new one for the neighborhood. But there is new hope with the current plan to rezone parts of Fayette County schools. Homes along Hayes Boulevard on the south side of Lexington are where the red shirts reside. Stuart Hall was built during and just after Athens- Chilesburg Elementary (ACE) was constructed in 2006. ACE is a high performing school that sits about a mile from the Stuart Hall subdivision. But the subdivision is districted for Breckinridge Elementary, which is about five miles down Richmond Road. The Kentucky Department of Education's school report card indicated Breckinridge needs improvement.

"When we built ACE, it was built based on the homes that were there," said Superintendent of Fayette County Schools Dr. Tom Shelton. Shelton said ACE was really meant to be a neighborhood school for the Andover area in Hamburg. There was no room for the homes built after. "It would be ideal if all students could go to the closest school, but you have to have a beginning and ending to a school zone," Shelton explained.

However, where that line ends has parents in the Stuart Hall subdivision sending their children to other options. In 2013, 52 out of the 178 elementary school-age children in Stuart Hall attended Breckinridge. The 143 remaining children all went to school somewhere else, including Vicky Walter's oldest daughter. She sent her to a private elementary school, then transferred to public once she graduated to middle. "Every parent looks at the performance of each school and every parent is concerned about their kid's best start," Walters said.

"I wouldn't say we're too good to go to the school, we want what's best for our kids in the best situation to succeed," said Stuart Hall HOA President Stephen Sewell.

Dr. Shelton says having Stuart Hall districted to Breckinridge has nothing to do with socio-economics and is all about space. "There's not room at ACE to send all the kids who live in Stuart Hall there right now. What we'll have to do is go back and look at the boundaries now and try to see can they change," Shelton explained.

The committee assigned to redistricting is scheduled to have a proposal at the end of the year.

The issue is not a new one for the neighborhood. But there is new hope with the current plan to rezone parts of Fayette County schools. Homes along Hayes Boulevard on the south side of Lexington are where the red shirts reside. Stuart Hall was built during and just after Athens Chilesburg Elementary (ACE) was constructed in 2006. ACE is a high performing school that sits about a mile from the Stuart Hall subdivision. But the subdivision is districted for Breckinridge Elementary, which is about five miles down Richmond Road. The Kentucky Department of Education's school report card indicated Breckinridge needs improvement.

"When we built ACE, it was built based on the homes that were there," said Superintendent of Fayette County Schools Dr. Tom Shelton. Shelton said ACE was really meant to be a neighborhood school for the Andover area in Hamburg. There was no room for the homes built after. "It would be ideal if all students could go to the closest school, but you have to have a beginning and ending to a school zone," Shelton explained.

However, where that line ends has parents in the Stuart Hall subdivision sending their children to other options. In 2013, 52 out of the 178 elementary school-age children in Stuart Hall attended Breckinridge. The 143 remaining children all went to school somewhere else, including Vicky Walter's oldest daughter. She sent her to a private elementary school, then transferred to public once she graduated to middle. "Every parent looks at the performance of each school and every parent is concerned about their kid's best start," Walters said.

"I wouldn't say we're too good to go to the school, we want what's best for our kids in the best situation to succeed," said Stuart Hall HOA President Stephen Sewell.

Dr. Shelton says having Stuart Hall districted to Breckinridge has nothing to do with socio-economics and is all about space. "There's not room at ACE to send all the kids who live in Stuart Hall there right now. What we'll have to do is go back and look at the boundaries now and try to see can they change," Shelton explained.

The committee assigned to redistricting is scheduled to have a proposal at the end of the year.


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