Redistricting: BOE changes sibling policy
Board to vote on final draft Tuesday

Parents who have long expressed frustration regarding the high school redistricting map and Forsyth County Schools’ redistricting policies remained discontented following a Forsyth County Board of Education work session Tuesday night that began a slight policy change.

In an attempt to make the redistricting process more equitable for students, particularly juniors who will be moved from their current high school to a new school, Deputy Superintendent of Schools Joey Pirkle — who is largely overseeing the redistricting committee and the mapmaking process — presented the board with language changing FCS’ policy regarding the grandfathering in of younger students who currently have older siblings attending county high schools.

The board first discussed making the change at a called meeting last Thursday.

“Siblings of rising seniors who are currently freshmen attending the same high school as well as current eighth graders who will be rising freshmen may apply for an out-of-district [placement] for one year only,” Pirkle said. “Siblings of rising seniors who are currently sophomores may apply for an out-of-district placement and they would remain [at their current school] for the remainder of high school.”

Prior to this change, siblings of rising seniors could apply for out-of-district placement and would have, if approved, been allowed to remain at their current schools for their entire high school career.

Board members said last week this was unfair to the rising juniors who will have to move schools next year, an issue that many parents have also expressed serious misgivings about.

On Tuesday, Pirkle also presented the board with four criteria current redistricted students can use to apply to remain at their current school:

Rising seniors who have been redistricted will remain at their current school for the 2018-19 school year by completing an out-of-district form; students who have completed two years of the same CTAE Career Pathway that will not be offered at their districted school and need the third and final class to receive recognized industry certification may stay at their existing school by completing the form (though the student must be currently enrolled in the second class this 2017-18 school year and must be able to complete the third and final class during the 2018-19 school year); South Forsyth High School students who are currently 10th graders and on track to enter the IB program during the 2018-19 school year may stay at South by completing the OOD form (though South administrators will verify which students are considered to be on track); and students who are currently involved in the Orchestra program at Lambert may stay after completing the form.

Out-of-district forms will be available from Dec. 1 - Jan. 19.

Despite the changes, which the board said were intended to make the process more equitable, some parents remained angry Tuesday, arguing the board is not in tune with the children who are affected by redistricting.

“Moving students from one crowded school to another accomplishes nothing for the school system,” said 19-year Forsyth County resident Cindy Morris. “It does affect all of the leadership positions and teacher bonds they have made for their college applications, [though]. The board is not speaking to these children, does not know the academic pressure of this generation and has no idea the damage they are doing.”

The board will vote to approve the final redistricting map at its public meeting next Tuesday. The meeting will be open to public comment.

Having already made several changes from the approved first draft, the final version will look slightly different than prior maps and the policy changes will be officially added.

For more information, visit FCS’ site at forsyth.k12.ga.us.