Groups ready to meet in redrawing school boundaries
by Megan Thornton
mthornton@cherokeetribune.com
September 07, 2012 12:55 AM | 1507 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — Cherokee County School District parents can rest easier this year knowing the upcoming six boundary focus group meetings are set to determine grade configuration rather than potentially move their students to a new school as they have in the past.

The district will begin the school boundary redrawing process this month for the 2013-14 school year as it typically has with a series of public meetings with all school stakeholders, district spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said.

“Boundary focus group meetings will take place at schools where the feeder pattern and grade configuration will be affected by the opening of the new

/replacement E.T. Booth (Middle School) for grades 6 through 8 in August 2013, as well as at Ball Ground (Elementary School) to survey the community about its future grade configuration,” Jacoby said.

Listed below, the public meetings will be held at 7 p.m. in each school’s cafeteria, except for the Chapman Intermediate School and E.T. Booth Middle School meeting, which will be held in the Etowah High School auditorium. At least one meeting will be held at each affected school, but a second meeting will be held if the participants at the initial meeting request another.

The meetings are as follows: Ball Ground Elementary — Oct. 1 and Oct. 15, if necessary; Bascomb Elementary — Sept. 25 and Oct. 9, if necessary; Boston Elementary — Oct. 2 and Oct. 16, if necessary; Chapman IS/E.T. Booth MS at Etowah High — Sept. 24 and Oct, 8, if necessary; Clark Creek Elementary — Sept. 27 and Oct. 11, if necessary; and Oak Grove Elementary — Oct. 4 and Oct. 17, if necessary.

Additionally, the school board will conduct a public input session on all proposed changes from 6:30 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 1 with the final recommendations presented for consideration at the Dec. 1 school board meeting at 7 p.m. Both meetings will take place at the Historic Canton High School board auditorium.

Brian Hightower, assistant superintendent of school operations, said the annual boundary meetings help the district work with parents to determine the best outcome for all stakeholders.

Hightower said the E.T. Booth replacement school will be open next fall and district officials are looking at the potential for the facility to house sixth through eighth-grade students and possibly serve the entire sixth-grade class at Chapman.

The new facility would be able to serve 1,500 while many of the district’s newer middle schools serve up to 1,200, Hightower said.

“We’re also looking at the capabilities of the feeder schools in that zone (Oak Grove, Boston and Bascomb) to pull those feeder students back into the elementary schools,” Hightower said.

Hightower repeated his previous statements to the Tribune about turning Chapman into a Ninth Grade Center for Etowah.

“It’s something that’s really been talked about for the last three years, and back to the beginnings at looking at building a bigger Booth with the capacity to hold a sixth grade,” Hightower said.

At Ball Ground, Hightower said the meetings will determine whether the school will maintain its current grade configuration of kindergarten through sixth-grade or move to a K-5 school or possibly K-7.

“There’s no plan in that scenario,” Hightower said. “We just want to hear from the community… We like the K-6 configuration out there but we’re open to stakeholder input on that.”

By serving as a K-6 facility, Ball Ground helps relieve overcrowding at Creekland Middle School by retaining their sixth-grade class of about 70, Hightower said

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