EVANS, Ga. (WJBF)- Nearly 1,400 Columbia County students could find themselves starting over at a new school next year. The superintendent’s office presented a preliminary rezoning proposal to the board of education Tuesday that lays out how students would be shuffled around to relieve overcrowded schools.
“The past several years., re-zoning has been pretty serious because of the growth in Columbia County,” said David Dekle of the Columbia County Board of Education.
But this one might be the biggest rezoning plan yet.
“I can’t tell you how many rezonings I’ve done in the twelve years that I’ve been on the board,” said Mike Sleeper, who represents Columbia County’s third district. “There have been several. Some of them very large…[but] this is the largest. This is the most involved rezoning that I’ve been through or will go through.”
The reason? Columbia County keeps growing.
“It’s like if you keep adding air to the balloon, eventually it will pop,” Dekle said.
The main goal was to relieve overcrowding at four schools: Grovetown High, Columbia Middle, Baker Place Elementary, and Martinez Elementary. But to do that, students at other schools would also have to be rezoned.
“A domino effect is a great way to describe it,” Sleeper said.
For example, the plan would rezone some students from overcrowded Columbia Middle to Evans Middle. But then, some students at Evans Middle would need to be moved to Lakeside Middle. And then to do that, Lakeside students would need to go to Stallings Island, where there is some room.
“To make things work logistically, we have to do some shifting,” Sleeper said.
But even though the proposal would affect 17 out of the district’s 32 schools, only about five percent of students would be rezoned.
“We can guarantee that you’re going to have a great education,” Sleeper said. “We just can’t guarantee you which school it’s going to be at all the time.”
The board will not be making a decision the plan until January, and Dekle and Sleeper indicate that more rezoning is in the future as the district continues to grow. They also say they want to hear your thoughts.
You can contact the school system at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The public will also be able to discuss the proposed rezoning at meetings on Dec. 12th at Evans Middle and Dec. 18th at Grovetown High. Both meetings begin at 6 p.m.
You can read the proposal here.