NORTH FULTON, Ga. – More than a year out from a new elementary school opening in Roswell and additions completed at three middle schools, talk of potential redistricting has some parents sounding the alarm.
In widely disseminated emails that went to neighborhood groups and PTA members, parents urged the community to stay on top of redistricting news, lest their kids be swept up into a new school without their input.
“Please keep abreast of the community meeting updates and pay attention to the proposed maps when they come out,” read one email circulating throughout North Fulton. “Many of our friends and neighbors nearby were taken by surprise when they were redistricted to Cambridge believing they were ‘safe’ and therefore did not attend the meetings or have their preferences heard.”
Planners with the Fulton County School System (FCSS) say it is too early to know the depth of redistricting next fall, and whether all schools in the area will be impacted to some degree. For certain, elementary lines in west Roswell will be re-drawn for a new school opening in 2015. In addition, additions at three middle schools will require some tweaking of middle school lines at Autrey Mill, Taylor Road and Hopewell middle schools.
Other than that, it is uncertain if planners will take the opportunity to look at all attendance zones in the area to correct for feeder patterns and future growth.
“The scope of the potential redistricting has not been determined,” said Yngrid Huff, chief planner for the FCSS. “Early in the fall, the superintendent and staff will share information with the school board and have a discussion regarding the specifics of any upcoming redistricting efforts.”
She noted the best way to ensure more direct feeder lines from elementary to middle to high schools is to review all attendance lines during any redistricting process. In some schools, such as Northwestern Middle School, only a small percentage of students are zoned to Cambridge High, with the vast majority heading to Milton.
Redistricting could alleviate those issues allowing more students to remain with their classmates.
The redistricting process will follow the same plan used by the school system for years. This includes community meetings to gather input and is based on a criteria established by the Fulton School Board.
Fulton Schools, especially the North Fulton community, is no stranger to redistricting over the past two decades. With every new school built in North Fulton – and 20 have opened since 1998 – school planners must draw new attendance lines to fill the new school and relieve area schools from overcrowding.
Redistricting went into overdrive after the passage of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), which collects one cent of every dollar spent in Fulton County for the Fulton and Atlanta school systems. Since its first passage by voters in 1997, the SPLOST has been renewed three times.
For information on the criteria for redistricting, which includes primary and secondary considerations, visit the FCSS website at www.fultonschools.org.