Originally created 11/29/06

Rezoning to be debated



The Columbia County school board approved a rezoning proposal for debate in public forums, but not the proposal itself, in a Tuesday meeting.

Instigated by the August 2007 opening of a new elementary school in Grovetown, the proposed rezoning primarily shifts hundreds of pupils from Grovetown and Euchee Creek elementary schools to the new school.

Also, 40 pupils living in the area between Old Wheeler and Hagin roads would relocate to the new school under the rezoning.

The problematic part of the proposal, according to some school board members, is the rezoning of 90 pupils from Lewiston Elementary and 55 pupils from North Harlem Elementary to Euchee Creek Elementary.

In particular, board member Roxanne Whitaker disapproves of rezoning the North Harlem Elementary pupils, living within a triangular area bordered by Appling-Harlem Highway, Whiteoak Road and Clary Cut Road, to Euchee Creek Elementary.

Mrs. Whitaker worries that moving those pupils will hurt North Harlem Elementary's Criterion-Reference Competency Test scores. The CRCT is a state test used to measure a school's academic progress under the federal No Child Left Behind legislation.

"They need those kids to keep their test scores up," Mrs. Whitaker said.

Superintendent Tommy Price told Mrs. Whitaker that this might be the only opportunity school officials have to relieve pupil overcrowding at North Harlem Elementary for a long time.

"Just from a numbers standpoint, we think this is a smart move," he said.

The pupils currently attending Lewiston Elementary who might get rezoned to Euchee Creek Elementary live in the area south of Baker Place Road between Chamblin and Louisville roads.

Public forums to discuss the rezoning will be held in the second week of December and early January, Mr. Price said.

The rezoning proposal likely will change after public input at those forums, board member Regina Buccafusco said.

"I don't know that we've ever gone with the original plan," she said.

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 113, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.

PROPOSED SCHOOL REZONING

SCHOOL CURRENT
PUPILS
PUPIL
REDUCTION
NEW
PUPILS
STUDENT
CAPACITY
Grovetown Elementary 829 234 595 704

Euchee Creek Elementary 647 380 412* 528
Lewiston Elementary 786 90 696 816
North Harlem Elementary 586 55 531 608
Brookwood Elementary 642 40 602 625
New elementary school 0 NA 654** 816

*The new enrollment figure includes the 90 pupils zoned for Lewiston Elementary and the 55 pupils zoned for North Harlem Elementary that would be relocated to Euchee Creek Elementary under the rezoning proposal.


**The new enrollment figure includes the 40 pupils zoned for Brookwood Elementary that would be relocated to the new elementary school under the rezoning proposal.

Source: The Columbia County Board of Education