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Process to close three schools begins
by Mary Cosgrove
November 19, 2012 02:58 PM | 2576 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Fulton County School System is seeking input from south Fulton residents regarding elementary school redistricting due to the closure of three elementary schools — Oak Knoll, Harriet Tubman and Mt. Olive.

The closure of the schools has not yet been approved by the school board, Executive Director of Operational Planning Yngrid Huff said, but each has been identified as the ones most needed for replacement.

South Fulton schools were evaluated on how much repair they would need to be brought up to school system standards, from both structural, educational and technological standpoints.

According to Huff, Mt. Olive, Oak Knoll and Harriet Tubman, which opened in 1960, 1963 and 1961, respectively, “had the most dismal scores in regards to their facility.”

Two new schools will replace the closure of the three, using education SPLOST funds that were approved by voters last November.

While the schools will not be closed — pending board approval — until the end of the 2013-14 and 2015-16 school years, the process for redistricting has already begun.

During any redistricting, the school system hosts community forums to gather parental input about redrawing school boundaries. The first round of forums has already taken place Oct. 29 and 30 at Woodland Middle School and Banneker High School.

Input is also being gathered for middle and high school redistricting due to the opening of Banneker High School.

Huff said historically, attendance for these community forums is low in south Fulton.

“At this first round, we actually held two meetings, which is unprecedented, but we wanted to make sure we provided two opportunities,” she said. “We had a total of 31 parents.”

Attendance is encouraged, Huff said, because not only does the school system value parents’ input and use it in the decision-making process, but also because parents who participate are more likely to be pleased with the redistricting results.

“Typically 85 to 90 percent are satisfied with the results as long as they are part of the process,” she said, as oppose to merely receiving notification of the new districts in the mail.

Two more rounds of forums will be taking place in the next few weeks. The second round, which will be Nov. 26 at Woodland Middle and Nov. 27 Banneker High, will present attendance zone proposals to the community based on input gathered from the first round of forums.

The final round — Dec. 10 at Woodland Middle and Dec. 11 at Banneker High — will present the final maps that will be proposed to the school board in January.

Two public hearings will take place in February prior to the board’s final vote on the closures.

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