In a called meeting Thursday, the Forsyth County Board of Education discussed what could govern changes to the next version of the 2009-10 redistricting map.
The fifth draft of the map will be posted online and at schools at 10 a.m. Sept. 19 so parents and those concerned can give input before the final draft of the map is approved Oct. 16.
Facilities Planning Coordinator Tim Amerson said the district could expect a rise in the student population by about 1,600 students in the 2009-10 school year.
Board Member Mike Dudgeon said he favored a method of redistricting that would give children choices.
“Giving a kid a choice to stay at an existing school instead of having to be forced to move to another one ... that goes within my philosophy, so I support the general concept,” Dudgeon said.
Dudgeon also said the number of times a student moves from school to school, and specifically from a new school to an old school should also be given consideration.
“There’s neighborhoods in the south side of the county that have gone from new school to new school. It’s a little less burdensome than the new school back to the old school,” Dudgeon said.
Vice Chairman Tom Cleveland said the timing involved in when a student transitions to another school is important as well.
“If they’re going to start their first year of high school with another set of students,” Cleveland said, “they’re going to have to get to know all of the new students, and you know how hard that is.”
The number of times a student has to move from school to school was also a concern for Cleveland.
“How much change is too much?” Cleveland said. “We never really used that kind of data in the past and we spent a lot of time this time analyzing it, looking at the number of school moves.”
Board member Ann Crow said a shortfall in the state budget could affect any plans the school system had.
“Opening five schools next year adds $12 to 14 million to our budget right off the top,” she said.
In 2009, the district plans to open one middle, one high and three elementary schools, landing thousands of children in new learning environments.
“Growth has enabled us to do a lot of things in this county,” she said. “It has provided us with money ... but now we are getting to the point where, with the downturn in the economy, we may not be able to do what we need to do.”