EDEN — Officials have set a date for a parent meeting to discuss the upcoming merger of Dillard Elementary School and New Vision School of Science, Math and Technology.

On Feb. 19, officials will convene the parent meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the Western Rockingham Middle School auditorium.

The superintendent and school board will address the operations plan for the two schools to navigate sharing a building and the schools’ 2018-2019 school calendars.

This meeting comes following controversy in the wake of the board’s Dec. 11 redistricting decision.

The school board decided in December that Dillard students will remain at their Madison campus in a traditional calendar program and the New Vision year-round school will join them under the same roof, contrary to the superintendent’s recommendation.

In the months leading up to the vote, the only formally presented and studied Western Rockingham County scenario proposed moving New Vision to the Dillard campus and transferring Dillard students to Huntsville and Stoneville elementary schools. Dillard students would have also had an option to instead join the year-round program.

The decision for New Vision and Dillard to cohabitate came as a shock to many.  

Following the vote, many citizens spoke out against the proposal while others continued to resist any decision that would displace Dillard students.

Outcry continued on Monday with three speakers at the board’s Feb. 12 meeting.

Mary Elizabeth Wilkins called the vote “underhanded,” but added that her family would be open to a calendar compromise.  

“I am hearing that the staff of both schools are coming together to work on the details of the merger,” Wilkins said. “I am extremely optimistic about the possibilities they are discussing. It is my hope you will listen to them this time and will not obstruct their efforts at an acceptable compromise.”

Wilkins told the board that she will have no issue with the merger if the school implements a balanced calendar close to New Vision’s current year round offering, puts all students on the same schedule and continues to offer the same programs and staff.  

Pencie Rumley followed with less optimism.

“I ask you, please, rescind the Dec. 11 motion,” Rumley said. “Study what it will financially cost us to do this, what happens to the communities, what avenues of education will be effect, but, most of all, what children will be affected.”

Rebekah Daniels also called for the board to rescind the decision.

“You have the chance now to set things right and show the community that you have the best interests of the children at heart and that you don't lack the morals and character that so many people are now questioning,” she said.

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Contact Justyn Melrose at (336) 349 -4331, ext. 6140 and follow @JMelrose_RCN on Twitter.