The Columbia County Board of Education plans to complete rezoning for the new Stallings Island Middle School in January.
The board members set a timeline for the process at a retreat Friday.
The board will begin discussions at its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, and tentative approval is slated for Nov. 27. Final approval would be given at the Jan. 22 meeting.
The school board also will hold two public hearings to get parental input about the rezoning boundaries. The first hearing is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 6 at Riverside Middle School. The second is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 10 at Evans Middle School.
Superintendent Charles Nagle said all of the county's middle schools except Harlem will be affected.
"The only thing we're doing differently from what I said we'd do five years ago is we're going south of I-20," Nagle said.
Originally, school officials anticipated that only the five middle schools north of Interstate 20 would be involved. But because of the population growth south of the interstate, about 160 students at Grovetown Middle School will be rezoned as well.
Nagle said the greatest number of students -- 220 to 250 -- will be rezoned at Riverside Middle School.
"Nothing is set in stone until final approval," said Regina Buccafusco, the school board chairwoman. "We have never approved a rezoning that was presented to us in the original form."
The middle school on Blackstone Camp Road is expected to open in August.
Nagle also said the board plans to set rezoning boundaries for the new high school, which is scheduled to open on Chamblin Road in August 2009, by the spring.
The board agreed that it wanted the high school rezoning settled before next fall, when several school members will be up for re-election.
"We want this decided for the right reasons, not political reasons," said Buccafusco.
In addition, the board members said, they did not want to burden a new board with the rezoning decision.
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