Columbia County's high- school rezoning has begun.
The school board gave final approval to a "pocket" rezoning for upcoming freshmen in three areas of the county at its Tuesday meeting. This plan will rezone 93 ninth-graders in August -- a year ahead of schedule -- so the students can attend the same high school for four years.
The school system plans to hold public hearings and finalize a comprehensive rezoning plan for its high schools this spring to prepare for the 2009 opening of Grovetown High School on Chamblin Road.
The mandatory rezoning will shift the eighth-grade pupils from the school where they are zoned to the high school they would attend once the more comprehensive plan is in place.
Fifty-one rising ninth-graders in the Flowing Wells Road/Richmond County line area will move from Evans High to Lakeside High; 31 pupils in the area of Hereford Farm and Blanchard roads will transfer from Greenbrier High to Evans High; and 11 pupils in the area of Louisville and Appling-Harlem roads will shift from Greenbrier High to Harlem High.
"This is in the best interest of the students. This is in the best interest of the schools," Superintendent Charles Nagle said.
The board tentatively approved a proposal to give upperclassmen who live in these areas the option of transferring to their new schools next year. This proposal would affect 108 rising 10th-graders and 90 rising 11th-graders.
Board members agreed to set a deadline for upperclassmen to declare their intentions to transfer next year. These students will need to meet the deadline, which likely will be in April or May, to be eligible for extracurricular activities at their new schools.
Nagle said no exceptions to the rezoning will be made for rising ninth-graders who have older siblings at a different high school.
"They're at different schools this year," he said. "If it's a transportation issue, that child can ride a bus."
The board passed both measures by a 4-0 vote. Board member Mike Sleeper was absent.
The high-school rezoning, which follows the recent rezoning of the county's middle-school boundaries, will create a common feeder system between the middle and high schools. The middle schools were rezoned to prepare for the opening of Stallings Island Middle School on Blackstone Camp Road in August.
Anyone who has questions about the rezoning plan can call the school system's central office at (706) 541-0650.
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