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Neighbors:

Over the past 24 hours, the Education Committee has taken several important steps in our efforts to work with the CMS Board of Education as it pertains to the Student Assignment Boundary plan. It has been made clear to us through our District Representative, Tom Tate, and after reviewing the new CMS proposal and seeing the lack of our proposal being included that the option to send our children through the Cotswold/Billingsville feeder pattern has been ignored and rejected. As such, the Education Committee met this evening to discuss our strategy moving forward. It was concluded that our best option was to pursue the second highest voted for option to follow the Oakhurst STEAM Academy, McClintock Middle School, and East Mecklenburg High School feeder pattern.

In addition to our meeting, Education Committee Co-Chair Member, Andy Sontag, attended a meeting with the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association to discuss this plan with their board. In an overwhelming show of support, the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association and the attending members voted to unanimously support our proposal and efforts. Also in attendance was a Board Member of the Amity Gardens Neighborhood Association who consulted with his his remaining board who also voiced their support for our plan.

As such, we have sent a new email to the CMS Board requesting that they please reconsider our proposal, paying special attention to our option routing our children through Oakhurst, McClintock, and East Meck. We feel that as we presented them all of our options on our original submission on May 10th, that this should be an acceptable request.

Regarding the scheduled meeting tomorrow with the CMS Board where they will hold a final public hearing to address any lingering concerns or note signs of support we would like to encourage your attendance. We would like you to voice your support or opposition to any and all components of the CMS plan or the Chantilly plan. But more importantly, we want you to be in attendance. It is the intention of the Education Committee Members who will be speaking on behalf of the committee and broader neighborhood to support the latest effort of the East Meck option. We also expect members of the Oakhurst Community and Amity Gardens community to show their support for this plan.

We as a committee have worked hard on behalf of the neighborhood, but now we need your help. Please show up and be heard!

For those of you planning to speak at the event tomorrow and are looking for some talking points, please see a list below to help you form your own ideas and opinions to share with the CMS Board of Education.

This option shows a continued support for Oakhurst STEAM Academy as our neighborhood school.
There is already an existing link between Oakhurst STEAM Academy and the McClintock Middle School through the magnet programs. As such, we already have a degree of transportation provided to our neighborhood, and this satisfies the Board of Education’s desire to keep children together throughout their school progression. As it stands today, half of the Oakhurst students, neighborhood school students, move on to Eastway Middle School and the other half, the magnet students, move on to McClintock Middle School.
It avoids capacity concerns at Myers Park High School
It allows the Oakhurst School Zone to maintain an equivalent quality of safety and education as Eastway Middle, McClintock Middle, Myers Park High School, and East Meck High School all have very comparable school scores, especially when compared to moving to Garinger.
The willingness to change schools and work with CMS.
It shows a willingess to work alongside the other neighborhoods with the Oakhurst School Zone to offer find a mutually beneficial solution.
I hope to see you all at CMS tomorrow for the vote! Remember to wear gray t-shirts and preferably your Hilly Chantilly 5k shirt.

Thank you,

The Chantilly Neighborhood Education Committee
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Please see the note sent to the School Board and Superintendent this evening:

Good evening Superintendent Clark and the other Board of Education members,

Over the past few days, the Chantilly Neighborhood Association and Education Committee members have taken a number of actions to discuss the feedback we have received from Tom Tate, our District Representative, and the clear lack of consideration for our proposal in the newly issued CMS Student Assignment Plan that is to be voted upon tomorrow. It is our understanding that the CMS Board of Education has only formally considered our majority request to leave Oakhurst STEAM Academy and instead opt for the Billingsville/Cotswold feeder pattern. While this was the majority vote option, I want to clarify that our second option, to stay at Oakhurst STEAM Academy, feed to McClintock Middle, and on to East Meck High School is still part of our proposal, received a significant portion of the vote, and should be considered as a viable option for our neighborhood.

On Monday, May 22nd, the Board Members of the Chantilly Neighborhood Association held a special meeting to seek the approval to support the Education Committee’s effort to formally present the Oakhurst, McClintock, and East Meck feeder pattern. The Education Committee then held a special meeting tonight, May 23rd, to discuss our options moving forward with CMS and the intentions of the other members of our community. We invited several special attendees who were originally strong advocates of the voted upon Myers Park option (and parents of Myers Park students to be impacted by the plan) who voiced their support for the Oakhurst, McClintock, East Meck option. At this meeting, we had unanimous support to move forward with the formal presentation to CMS of this feeder pattern.

Immediately following this Chantilly Education Committee meeting, co-chair Andy Sontag, attended an Oakhurst Neighborhood Association meeting to share our efforts with CMS, understand more about their proposal that has been submitted to follow an Oakhurst, McClintock, and East Meck feeder pattern, and collaborate our efforts and speak as an entire school zone as we head into the vote. While Andy Sontag was in attendance, the Oakhurst Board held a neighborhood vote to support the previously submitted Chantilly proposal option to follow an Oakhurst, McClintock, East Meck feeder pattern. The result was a UNANIMOUS decision to support Chantilly’s proposal.

Also in attendance of the Oakhurst Community vote was a member of the Amity Gardens Board who received support from the other members of his board to further support our option of the Oakhurst, McClintock, East Meck feeder pattern.

We would like to reiterate that the neighborhoods of Chantilly, Oakhurst, Amity Gardens and the broader communities within the Oakhurst STEAM Academy School zone have come to an agreement to fully support CMS considering the alteration of their current Student Assignment Boundary proposal to include an option that sends all Oakhurst STEAM Academy students to McClintock Middle School and then East Meck High School.

For your reference, I have attached a copy of the original proposal from Chantilly which will discuss in more detail the rationale behind the option, but would like to provide some bullet points below.

There is a strong contingency in the neighborhood that would like to continue to support the Oakhurst STEAM Academy. The objective of submitting any alternative is solely based on our concerns of the lack of improvements we perceive at Garinger High School and is not a reflection of the willing participation to attend Oakhurst STEAM Academy.
As the STEAM program for Oakhurst currently feeds into the McClintock magnet program, there is already transportation to our neighborhood and this would keep all Oakhurst students together in their transition to middle school regardless of their designation of a magnet student or a neighborhood student.
Using the Oakhurst School Zone as it relates to proximity to McClintock Middle School and East Meck High School it should be well within the guidelines CMS.
At the High School level, East Meck and Myers Park are significantly more comparable than the recommendation of Garinger High School. It has been made clear to me that changing Chantilly from Myers Park to East Meck would be met with acceptance and approval whereas there has been a resounding opposition to participating at Garinger.
Finally, we as a community support change at Garinger and think all children should be entitled to a good education in a safe atmosphere. As it stands now, we have not seen any concrete plans to address the educational under-performance or drastically higher than average rate of crime. Speaking for Chantilly, we cannot support sending our children there.
In summary, we would like to state that we want to work with CMS in the endeavor. We understand that as populations change, so must the school zones. We also sympathize with CMS and that they must try to do something to address the issues with Garinger. But severely reducing the quality of education our children can receive is not the answer. We have expanded our community involvement beyond just our neighborhood of Chantilly and have consulted with and gained support of the surrounding neighborhoods in the Oakhurst School Zone. It is because of this, that we implore you to please consider this alternative and include it in your vote tomorrow. you can expect there to be a significant number of our neighbors from across the Oakhurst School Zone who will be offering their support for this plan.

I have copied several CMS Board of Education Members, the Chantilly Board Members, the Chantilly Education Committee, the Oakhurst Community Board, and the Amity Gardens Board. As we are quickly approaching the vote I want to mention that we are all willing to make ourselves available to any members who seek further clarification of our plan. The future of our children rests in your hands. Please do not overlook our relatively small community.

Respectfully,

The Chantilly Education Committee

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