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Poole’s Mill Elementary redistricting, future calendar approved by BOE
Poole's Mill Elementary School 1 072619 web
Renderings of the entrance to Poole's Mill Elementary School, which is set to open for the 2020-21 school year. (Photo courtesy Forsyth County Schools)

The Forsyth County Board of Education has approved a proposed redistricting plan that will alter multiple attendance lines in north Forsyth County ahead of the opening of Poole’s Mill Elementary in 2020.

At the board’s November meeting held Tuesday, board members finalized two changes that had been proposed to the redistricting plan, which initially involved six different “moves” that rearranged the attendance lines for five north Forsyth elementary schools, placing about 800 students at Poole’s Mill from other existing schools, and exchanging swaths of land so that other surrounding schools are below 100% capacity.

Redistricting
The first change, proposed at last week’s work session, concerned the Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program at Kelly Mill Elementary.

According to Forsyth County School Superintendent Jeff Bearden, based on community feedback, school staff proposed that nine DLI students at Kelly Mill, out of the 61 students that are slated to move to Sawnee Elementary, should be allowed to have an out-of-district request so they can remain at the school for the DLI program. The system would also provide transportation for those students, Bearden said.

In his presentation to the board on Tuesday, Deputy Superintendent of Schools Joey Pirkle told the board that the final modification involves several small parcels of land on Riley Road in north Forsyth, which would be kept in the Silver City Elementary district.

“This would keep these handful of parcels adjacent to Riley Road consistent with all other parcels on Riley Road in terms of school bus routing,” Pirkle said. “It would still allow the district to fulfil its primary goal of populating Silver City at under 100% student capacity … This really only affects two elementary students.”

After hearing a reiteration of these two modifications, board members approved the redistricting.

"As always, it's a lot of conversations, a lot of moving parts, but I feel like we've met the objective. We're going to functionally populate Poole’s Mill Elementary, and we have kept the capacity under 100% at the other schools that were impacted," Bearden said.

 

2021-22 school calendar approved

Looking ahead to the 2021-22 school year, board members approved the proposed future school calendar with no modifications.

According to a draft released by the school system in October, the proposed 2021-22 calendar includes similar dates to the 2020-21 school calendar, which was approved last year. And over the last month members of the public were given the opportunity to share their thoughts on the calendar draft.

At last week’s work session, Bearden told the board they received a large amount of feedback on the draft, with the majority of comments concerning the proposed 2021 fall break of Sept. 20 to Sept. 24.

"We did get a lot of feedback on the calendar as we always do. The biggest concern or question was fall break falling a week earlier than it traditionally has," he said. "That really has to do with the Georgia High School Association and when high school sports are scheduled."

Bearden said that as they have explained in the past, the school calendar has to mostly conform to the Georgia High School Association [GHSA] schedule for football, due to the large impact that scheduling has on the lives of school community members.

In the future, they would like to see a later fall break date, he said, and they will be working with the GHSA to make that need known.

"We've made it really clear to GHSA that we would prefer to be able to have our fall break the last week in September, so we put them on notice,” Bearden said. “However, there are hundreds of high schools in the state of Georgia. Districts have varying calendars and varying suggestions. However, it is our goal that for the next calendar that we present that fall break be moved back to that last week in September."

On Tuesday, Pirkle said that school staff had no recommended changes based on the community feedback and the proposed calendars were approved by board members.

See the full calendar online at www.forsyth.k12.ga.us/Page/349.