FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — As schools near capacity, Fayetteville school board members continue to discuss how it’s going to rezone schools in the district. About 20 people stayed for three hours as the board got through other business before discussing rezoning.

At Thursday night’s meeting, the board talked about finding a balance between making sure schools stay diverse while also making sure kids are in close proximity to the school they’re zoned to.

Unlike other schools in Northwest Arkansas, the rezoning conversation is a rare one for FPS. This is the first time in 16 years that FPS has had to rezone.

According to a report by the firm who helped draw up the rezoning plans, McNair Middle School is expected to reach its capacity by next school year. Holcomb Elementary could have too many students by the 2025-2026 school year. By 2030, four of its nine elementary schools would exceed capacity.

Kelly Unger has a rising 5th grader who will start middle school at McNair this year, but could be redistricted to Holt Middle School next year. She said she understands that rezoning has to happen, but after a tumultuous few years with the pandemic, she’s wary about adding more change to her daughter’s education.

“I think that her class specifically has been through a lot with the pandemic,” she said. “I think starting middle school in fifth grade and then moving to sixth grade in a different school would be like completely changing schools.”

The school district understands parents concerns, and while we may have some growing pains right now, this is really a good thing in the long run.

“Redrawing the elementary and middle school lines is a sign of a healthy district,” said Alan Wilbourn, Spokesperson for FPS. “It means you’re growing and districts all across the country do it. We understand that every time we do this, someone’s going to have to move and they are not going to be happy about it, but we’re doing the best we can.”

The board decided on Thursday to discard plans 1, 3, 5 and 7 for the middle schools. This was the second meeting the board spent discussing the plans. The board president expects they will actually vote on the plans at next month’s meeting.