Fulton County Schools – Redistricting Meeting

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Redistricting meetings set for new elementary schools, middle school additions

Three community meetings are set for October 8, November 5, and December 10 to address the redistricting process for two new schools in Roswell as well as classroom additions at three North Fulton middle schools.

About the new schools/additions
One of the schools (“Highway 9 Elementary School”) is already under construction at the intersection of Highway 9 and Thomas Drive in Roswell. Scheduled to open in August 2015, it will temporarily serve as Esther Jackson Elementary School for one year only so that school can be torn down and be rebuilt on its site. Once the new Esther Jackson opens in August 2016, the Highway 9 school will re-open with a new identity (official name TBD) to the students in its newly developed attendance zone.

Classroom additions being built at three middle schools (Autrey Mill Middle School, Hopewell Middle School, and Taylor Road Middle School) also require that attendance zones in area schools be examined so that enrollments can be balanced. High school boundaries will be reviewed at the same time, but only to address any feeder pattern misalignments that could occur from middle school adjustments.

About the redistricting process
Each time a redistricting effort is under way, the school system holds three rounds of meetings to gather information needed to draft a redistricting proposal that best meets the community’s needs. Unlike other school systems, Fulton uses a process that encourages public discussion before developing a proposal. This allows the community to have maximum input in how the proposed attendance lines are created.

Meetings are planned for:

Round One – October 8, 7-9 p.m. at Centennial High School

School system staff outlines redistricting process and establishes ground rules for facilitated small-group input sessions.
Participants move to small-group sessions and input is gathered related to the redistricting criteria.
Staff reviews public comments and applies school board-approved redistricting criteria to develop alternative attendance zone plans prior to the next community forum.
Round Two – November 5, 7-9 p.m. at Alpharetta High School

Staff presents alternative proposals that were developed with established criteria and community input from the first forum.
Community members comment on strengths and weaknesses of each plan in facilitated small-group discussions.
Prior to the next community forum, staff condenses the number of attendance zone alternatives based on public input.
Round Three – December 10, 7-9 p.m. at Centennial High School

Community members review and provide input on revised attendance zone alternatives in facilitated small-group discussions.
Staff uses comments to develop final attendance zone options for Board consideration.
To maximize input, parents and community members also can participate online through the redistricting website once it goes live on October 8.
Criteria used for developing redistricting proposal
During the meetings, community members will review the school board’s redistricting criteria and can comment on residential development, traffic, previous redistricting, special programs and other issues relevant to the criteria used for redrawing attendance lines.

Primary Criteria

Geographic Proximity – Distance traveled using available routes of transportation.
Instructional Capacity – Number of students who can be accommodated at the school, taking into account the number of classrooms and resource rooms needed for art, music, labs, English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), special education and Talented and Gifted (TAG) programs.
Projected Enrollment – Number of students assigned to a school, taking into account the future projected enrollment.
Secondary Criteria
When primary criteria indicate more than one option, options are evaluated on the basis of:

Traffic Patterns – Factors impacting accessibility of the school from all portions of the attendance zone, including travel time, traffic flow in the area, safe operation of school buses and other safety considerations.
Previous Rezoning – The school system seeks to avoid rezoning neighborhoods more than once during a three-year period if facility sizes and geographic distribution of student populations allow.
Special Programs – Special programs are those serving children with special needs that require use of additional space over and above a regular classroom. Where possible, the school system avoids setting attendance zones that would place a disproportionate number of special programs at a school.
School Feeder Alignment – Where possible, consideration is given to the alignment of elementary, middle and high school attendance boundaries.
The Fulton County Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the new attendance zones in February 2015. Changes in middle school attendance zones will go into effect in August 2015 with elementary zone changes following in August 2016.

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