1,873 students could be rezoned

By Greg Gelpi

Almost 2,000 students will be changing schools in the fall with the opening of three new schools.

The new schools will alleviate some of the overcrowding in schools, but caused the Clayton County school system to redraw its school boundaries, affecting 1,873 students.

The new boundary maps, which the Clayton County Board of Education has preliminarily approved, will determine which schools students will attend in the fall.

Gwen Park, a mother of three Brown Elementary students, said her children have always gone to Brown, but the new boundaries could change that.

"This is the only school I know," she said. Her children are in first and fifth grades and have attended Brown since kindergarten.

Park, the president of the Brown Parent Teacher Association, said that Brown already has temporary classroom trailers covering the campus, including three trailers on the basketball courts.

Brown is one of the schools that will be helped by the new Kemp Primary, Assistant Superintendent of Auxiliary Services Ronnie Blake said. Almost 200 students will be rezoned to Kemp. Brown is still projected to be 74 students over capacity, which is less than the 164 students the school is currently over capacity.

"I'm glad in a way because we're getting a new subdivision," Park said. "I'm very, very happy they're opening new schools."

A new subdivision is being developed across the street from Brown, she said. The development could add more students to Brown's enrollment.

Blake said a number of factors went into drawing the new school areas, including reducing enrollments at the most overcrowded schools, transportation concerns and future growth. At the same time, he tried to move as few students as possible.

The new Jonesboro Middle School and two elementary schools will open in the fall. Jonesboro Middle will move from its current location 137 Spring St. in Jonesboro to 1308 Arnold St. in Jonesboro. The elementary schools are at 5885 Maddox Road in Morrow and 10990 McDonough Road in Hampton.

Although the board approved the preliminary school zones, the process of adopting new zones is just beginning.

The school system will hold public hearings at 6 p.m. Monday for Elementary School No. 9, 7 p.m. Monday for Elementary School No. 10, known as Kemp Primary, and 6 p.m. Tuesday for Jonesboro Middle. The public hearings will be at the boardroom of the Administrative Complex, 1058 Fifth Ave., Jonesboro.

Blake will present recommendations from the hearings to the board May 3 and parents of affected students will be sent letters about the final school zones the week of May 4.

Jonesboro Middle will pull 39 students from Roberts Middle School and 233 students from Morrow Middle School.

Elementary No. 9 will receive 222 students from McGarrah Elementary, 486 students from East Clayton Elementary and 77 students from Morrow Elementary.

The two Kemp Elementary schools will take 353 students from River's Edge Elementary, 11 students from Suder Elementary and 192 from Brown Elementary.

River's Edge will pull 257 students from Kemp and three students from Hawthorne Elementary.

Kemp Primary will teach kindergarten through second grades, and Kemp Elementary will teach third through fifth grades.