NORTH FULTON, Ga. – Parents would be wise to stay aware of school attendance zone changes in the coming months.
The redistricting process for all schools throughout North Fulton will begin in October, with the goal to have the changes approved by February and in place next school year, according to officials with the Fulton County School System (FCSS).
“The scope of the North Fulton redistricting will include all schools and all levels,” said Yngrid Huff, chief planner for the FCSS. “Capacity is being added at the elementary and middle school levels, which requires a holistic look at all attendance boundaries.”
A new elementary school off Highway 9 in Roswell is set to open in August 2015, along with additions at three North Fulton middle schools – Hopewell, Autrey Mill and Taylor Road. A planned addition at Crabapple Middle was shelved until after 2018 while planners consider a complete rebuild of the school.
This increased classroom space provides an opportunity for the FCSS to adjust attendance lines based on enrollment, as well as remedy some of the quirky feeder patters from elementary to middle to high school.
The last North Fulton rezoning was in 2011 with the opening of Cambridge High School. Huff said it is time to revisit the lines to ensure capacity is balanced across the region.
“We’ve had some changes since the last redistricting, so we want to make sure everything is aligned,” said Huff. “When you look at the entire region, you are able to jiggle all the puzzle pieces at once, and you can better align [the zones].”
Huff said the process will also focus on cleaning up feeder patterns, primarily from middle to high school. While it is impossible to have a 100 percent middle school feed into a high school because of space issues, planners will work on reducing small groups of kids who veer off from their classmates to a new school.
“The feeder pattern needs to be considered,” said Fulton Board member Linda McCain, who represents Johns Creek. “In my area, it’s the middle to high school feed my community is most concerned about. The kids are on feeder teams and other clubs, and it gets [complicated].”
Board member Katie Reeves of Alpharetta concurred with the need to clean up feeder lines. She pointed out there is not a new high school planned in North Fulton in the near future so this redistricting provides the opportunity to “tweak” the feeder patterns.
Although feeder patterns are considered a “secondary criteria” for modifications, there was consensus on the board to weigh it more heavily in some instances.
The redistricting process will start in October through a series of community meetings. Feedback and information will be gathered from the community and used to develop maps based on criteria approved by the Fulton County Board of Education.
“The first meeting serves as a means to gather specific feedback, which will then allow staff to generate alternative maps for the second and third meetings,” explained Huff. “No assumptions should be made on who or what communities will be involved. All residents are invited and encouraged to attend.”
She noted the meetings will be held in the October through December time frame, with recommendations presented to the board in January for approval in February. Changes will go into effect for the 2015-2016 school year.
All meetings will be held at Alpharetta High School, although dates and times have not been finalized.