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Relief appears on way for Midway
Crowded school may shed nearly 200 students
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Forsyth County News

Board reviews budget

Also during its work session Thursday night, the Forsyth County Board of Education reviewed a draft of the 2014 budget.

The proposed nearly $281.5 million spending plan shows a shortfall of about $5.7 million. It also reflects an increase of nearly $11 million from 2013.

Dan Jones, the system’s chief finance officer, attributed much of the budget increase to staff increases for meeting enrollment growth.

The system is adding 80 new teaching positions, 15 bus drivers, one assistant principal and one clerical position for a total of about $6.3 million.

Jones also cited increases in teacher retirement and health plans, which are mandated by the state. They account for about $2.4 million.

Less than a month after Midway Elementary School parents asked for relief on the crowded campus, the school system has proposed a solution.

Midway is projected to be 42 percent over its 637-student capacity for the 2013-14 school year, with plans calling for 14 portable classrooms, the most in school history.

But after a presentation from Associate Superintendent Joey Pirkle during a work session Thursday, the board appears primed to change some attendance lines, a move that could trim nearly 200 students from the projected enrollment.

There are several scenarios to the redistricting, for which the board could chose one, two or all three options.

The first proposal would be to redistrict 113 students who live in the area of Union Hill, McGinnis Ferry and McFarland roads to Big Creek Elementary.

The second would involve shifting 36 children from the Holbrook Campground Road area to Vickery Creek Elementary. The final option would move 34 students to the Majors Road/Castleberry Road area to Vickery.

If all three redistricting options are approved May 16, Midway’s projected enrollment would drop from 963 students to 780. It also would need 11 trailers instead of 14, a potential savings of about $70,000.

According to officials, the additional students would have little impact on Big Creek, which would remain well under its 887-student capacity with an enrollment of 780.

However, the change would put Vickery Creek slightly over its 1,037-student capacity, with 1075 students. If no changes are made, Vickery’s enrollment likely would be 1,005.

While other schools in the area could take in some Midway students, Pirkle said these three options would not disrupt “the middle and high school feeder pattern.”

The timeline for the proposed changes would be rapid, according to Pirkle. Letters and e-mails communicating the system’s proposal, timeline and a chance to offer input online went out to parents in the three affected areas Friday. But due to the time crunch, they have until Wednesday to respond.

Whatever the board decides May 16 will be communicated to parents the next day. Those affected will then have until May 31 to submit an out-of-district request for rising fifth-graders to stay put.

The proposed changes would be a temporary solution, with two other plans on the horizon, said Superintendent Buster Evans.

“We have scheduled, in the fall, another redistricting where we’re going to fix a couple of other elementary school situations at that time,” he said. “[We] will even then, perhaps, take another group out of Midway.”

The other solution would be to open a relief school. But funding constraints mean the soonest that could happen would be 2016.