Parents who asked for their children not to be transferred from Blandford or Rincon elementary schools to another school next year got their wish.
The Effingham County School System granted all 38 requests it received for students to stay at Blandford and 29 to remain at Rincon, Superintendent Randy Shearouse announced at last week’s board of education meeting.
“We were able to accommodate all of them,” Shearouse said. “I’m proud of that because we did say that we would try.”
Blandford and Rincon families affected by next year's redistricting were given the first chance to submit zoning exception requests for the 2014-15 school year. School choice requests for all other Effingham County schools can be submitted in April.
By law, public school students in Georgia can attend a school in their district other than the one for which they are zoned, as long as the school has available space and a parent or guardian can provide the child’s transportation.
Board member Vickie Decker asked what impact approving all 67 school choice requests for BES and RES will have on those for other schools. Shearouse said some schools will likely not be open to non-zoned students because their enrollments are high enough already.
“I would anticipate that Blandford would be closed, Marlow Elementary in all probability would be closed and South Effingham Elementary would also be closed, but we haven’t determined that yet,” Shearouse said. “I don’t think Rincon will be closed, based on the numbers.”
By “closed,” Shearouse means only to students already in Effingham County who are zoned for other schools. Flexibility is built in to accommodate students who move into the county from other areas.
The school system has grown by 161 students from last March to this March, Shearouse said.
“The county is growing again,” he said. “If the last year is any indication, we could grow a bit more for next fall.”
The Effingham County Board of Education approved the redistricting plan last month, to create more balance among the district’s elementary school enrollments. Blandford is the only one with more than 800 students.
In 2014-15, all students who live north of Fort Howard Road will attend RES and all south of it will go to BES. Students in the Hickory Knob area will move from Rincon to Ebenezer Elementary, and 66 pre-kindergarten students who had moved to Rincon will return to Blandford.
Using current enrollment figures, the new attendance lines will reduce Blandford’s enrollment to 746. Enrollment will increase at Rincon from 637 to 669 and at Ebenezer from 645 to 710.