The fight to keep Chelsea students from changing schools

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[lin_video src=http://eplayer.clipsyndicate.com/embed/player.js?aspect_ratio=16×9&auto_next=1&auto_start=0&div_id=videoplayer-1372387374&height=480&page_count=5&pf_id=9624&show_title=1&va_id=4120341&width=640&windows=2 service=syndicaster width=640 height=480 div_id=videoplayer-1372387374 type=script]CHELSEA, Ala. (WIAT) — The possibility of a new school system in Shelby County has many parents in the area scrambling.

Many parents, like Angela Laughlin, are worried that they’ll be required to move their children to a school they don’t want to go to or sell their home so they can stay at the school that they’ve been attending.

It takes about four minutes to travel less than two miles from Oaklyn Hills to Chelsea High School.

However, it takes roughly 18 minutes to get from the same place to Valley Elementary School in Pelham.

“Some people put them on the bus to take [the children] to Chelsea, so you’re looking at even an earlier commute,” Laughlin said. “I don’t want my children that far away. And I don’t want them on the bus for an hour.”

The ride and distance are not the only issues, though, for the group of parents living in Oaklyn Hills.

“You know, we’re invested in the town, so I feel like . . . we don’t want to leave it,” Sarah Sisco added.

Perhaps the best solution for the people of Oaklyn Hills and surrounding communities is to de-annex out of the Pelham school system and back into Shelby County or Chelsea school systems.

That potential solution is already in the works.

Pelham City Attorney Frank Ellis says there are two ways to de-annex. One of those ways, which involves going through the legislature, is unlikely.

Ellis says using the County Probate Court is the most likely option.

“I think we have a good majority of our residents who want to stay in Chelsea schools,” said Michelle Donovan. “We’ve had several neighborhood meetings and a petition is in the works.”

If the solution doesn’t work out, the families may only have one other option – to pack up and move to keep their children in the schools where they’ve grown up.

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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