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School board sees new proposed school zone

Posted: September 16, 2012 - 12:01am
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Photo by Jim Blaylock School superintendent Charles Nagle addresses the parents attending a school rezoning meeting at Evans Elementary.  Photo by Jim Blaylock School superintendent Charles Nagle addresses the parents attending a school rezoning meeting at Evans Elementary.
Photo by Jim Blaylock School superintendent Charles Nagle addresses the parents attending a school rezoning meeting at Evans Elementary.
Photo by Jim Blaylock School superintendent Charles Nagle addresses the parents attending a school rezoning meeting at Evans Elementary.

School officials unveiled a map of proposed elementary school zones to the Columbia County school board at its Tuesday meeting, and followed up Wednesday with a public hearing.

The rezoning process was prompted by the new Evans Elementary School, scheduled to open on Gibbs Road for the 2013-2014 school year.

The new 51-classroom school is projected to have a 640-pupil enrollment, according to a presentation by Robert Jarrell, the school system’s assistant superintendent for student support.

All pupils currently attending Evans Elementary will move to the new school, which is expected to grow by 204 pupils. Half of the pupils will come from Bel Air Elementary.

The other half of Bel Air’s student population will move to Martinez Elementary, where 212 new pupils are projected to bring the school’s enrollment to 670 next school year.

“What we’ve done at this point is made an imaginary line from just east of the Moss Creek subdivision north to Owens Road at Marty Drive,” Jarrell said. “That’s a separation line.”

Though Bel Air will officially close after this school year, the campus will be used by Martinez while its current building is razed. A new Martinez Elementary is scheduled to open on the site in August 2014.

More than 20 Greenbrier Elementary pupils living on Blanchard Road, south of Clark Drive to Hereford Farm Road, will be rezoned to the new Evans Elementary, which will serve as a feeder school for Evans Middle and Evans High.

“No students are being relocated from Evans Elementary or Martinez Elementary,” Jarrell said. “If they are attending those schools now, they will continue to attend those schools.”

The new zones seemed to be well-received during Wednesday’s hearing, the first of two set up to discuss the rezonings.

“I’m happy with it,” said Melissa Brown, whose son will be rezoned for Evans Elementary.

Brown’s son is a fourth-grader at Bel Air Elementary. She said the zoning ensures that he will go to Evans Middle School with his friends.

“You just want to make sure the adjustment goes smoothly,” she said.

A second rezoning meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at Bel Air Elementary, 325 N. Belair Road.

ALSO AT THE MEETING

• Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) score comparisons from 2011 and 2012 were released.

Overall, Evans and Harlem High School scores improved slightly from 2011, while scores at Greenbrier, Grovetown and Lakeside High schools dropped marginally.

The school district’s scores remained higher than state and national averages.

• In addition, superintendent Charles Nagle updated the school board on enrollment figures.

The school system has grown by 735 students to a total student population of 24,347. That is 348 students more than initially expected.

The bulk of that growth is concentrated near the Grovetown area, Nagle said, with Grovetown High growing by 86 students.

• The search for a new school superintendent began Monday. Applications will be accepted through Oct. 17. The school board named most of the community members of the search committee, and said it will begin meeting later this month.

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