CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two George Washington High School students are willing to pay up to $1,000 to gain access to the Kanawha County Board of Education's records on redistricting plans for the area's schools, saying the public needs to know more about the issues surrounding the proposal.
GW seniors Ben Glasser and Derek Crane, both student council members, have submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the school board, asking for any documents related to redrawing attendance zones and transfer policies in the South Hills area.
For months, the county's proposal to redistrict in order to alleviate crowding at John Adams Middle, GW and its feeder schools has caused controversy, with parents voicing concerns that if they were pushed out of district, their children would not receive an adequate education.
Last year, John Adams students had the best middle school test scores in West Virginia, while GW students had the second-highest high school scores.
Kanawha school board members will vote at a meeting Thursday to decide if they will redistrict, and how they will do it. The meeting starts at 6 p.m.
Parents have threatened to sell their homes in order to continue sending their children to the district's schools, saying the move would "cripple the community" and that surrounding areas lack "middle class values."
"This is reserving one of the best schools in the state for the richest kids, and that's not fair. It's not right, and we feel like something needs to be done about it," Glasser said.
"A lot of the South Hills parents are complaining that the school would somehow be tarnished by out-of-area kids, and that's disgusting. It's totally wrong to keep out kids who want a quality education."
Kanawha County school board members have initiated plans to expand John Adams and proposed a new transfer policy to crack down on out-of-area families sneaking into the system.
The proposed redistricting plans would send some Overbrook Elementary students to Kenna or Holz elementaries, Mary C. Snow Elementary students to Grandview Elementary and Flinn Elementary students to Sissonville Elementary.
"We feel like they're burning down the village to save it. They're destroying this great school by instituting these kinds of policies," Glasser said. "What we want to do is to get this information available to the public."