Inland Empire News

Hemet school district rezoning: Parents upset about moving kids

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Some parents in Hemet are upset over plans to switch their children out of a nearby high-performing school to a lower-ranked school farther away.

Several years ago, the Hemet Unified School District re-drew some of its boundaries because of budget cuts, which meant about 100 kids who would have gone to Winchester Elementary, instead went to Harmony Elementary.

But because of a new state law that, in part, requires smaller class sizes, about 100 kids will now have to leave Harmony and move back to Winchester. One way the district is talking about doing this is changing the boundaries back to the way they were before.

"How can they continue bouncing them back and forth and playing with their emotions like that?" said Cynthia Juarez, one of many parents upset that her child may have to leave one of the highest performing schools in the district and move to one of the lowest. "We're one of the better schools in Hemet. We're one of the only schools that aren't on academic probation, so of course everyone wants to come here."

Vincent J. Christakos, assistant superintendent of the Hemet Unified School District, says some parents might be overreacting.

"They'll get the same level of education whether they're at Winchester or Harmony or any other elementary schools that we have in the district," said Christakos. "None of our schools I would categorize as bad."

But there is a difference. Harmony Elementary has an academic performance index rating of 853 -- that's in the 70th percentile. Winchester is only 736 -- that's in the 20th percentile.

Regardless, district officials say their hands are tied. Almost 100 students will need to leave this school.

"Change will happen no matter where you are, and I think the sooner you can learn those types of skills to make those adjustments, the better off you may be in life," said Christakos.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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