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Officials will look at new school zones

Some McDuffie County elementary students may soon be on the move.

The county Board of Education will look at slightly redrawing school zones next month, Superintendent of Schools Ed Grisham said at last week's planning retreat in Athens.

The move to redraw the zones will be done to achieve a more consistent racial balance in two of the county's schools.

"Right now, Maxwell Elementary's zone, which is in the eastern side, has a higher percentage of white students than does the Thomson Elementary zone on the western side," he said. "We have a proposal that the board will deal with over the next month or month and a half to try and bring this back into line, because that's one of the things we stated when we divided the zones, that we'd be very sensitive to the racial balance."

School officials last redrew zones several years ago. Dr. Grisham said that he hopes for only around 60 students to be affected, with 30 from each school moving to the other.

He said that the plans that will determine exactly which students will be affected are still being developed.

An alternative to redrawing school zones would be to permanently assign grades to every elementary school and not have any of them overlap. However, Dr. Grisham noted several negative factors associated with that plan, including the presence of parents who wouldn't want their children to change schools.

"It's going to be back and forth between the system and parents, and also the teachers, most of them are settled where they're at, and they don't want to change schools," he said.

On the other hand, he said he also recognizes the downside to just redrawing the zones every few years.

"We're dealing with numbers now, and those numbers won't be the same tomorrow, and we know that," he said. "If (the board) does the movement of the line, you're going to have to address it over and over about every two years if you want to maintain racial balance."

The Board of Education is expected to decide on a plan at its regular meeting next month.



Web posted on Wednesday, January 14, 2004


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