Muscogee County School District changes attendance zones

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Students in Columbus could attend different schools after the Muscogee County School District completed its first comprehensive restructuring of attendance areas in more than a quarter century – and a council member has expressed concern that this could lead to school segregation.

MCSD administration presented the rationale and process for restructuring attendance areas to the board during the Monday evening monthly business session.

Over the past 25 years, the construction of new neighborhoods, new roads and new schools, as well as the closing of old schools and the increase or decrease in population in various parts of Columbus, have caused problems of frequentation of the zones, according to the explanation on the agenda. .

The administration listed three goals for changing the zone boundaries:

  • Improve the sustainability of footfall areas in growing residential areas.

  • Improve the balance of feeder schools so that middle schools don’t have a lot more elementary schools and high schools don’t have a lot more middle schools directing students to them.

  • Improve the efficiency of student transportation.

MCSD formed a working group to explore options, propose solutions, and implement the final plan. The District Teacher Advisory Council will review the work of the task force and provide feedback throughout the process. According to the administration, the task force will consider the following factors:

  • Population changes in existing neighborhoods and plans for future neighborhoods.

  • Models of feeder schools.

  • Academic capabilities for enrollment, academic programs, and special services.

  • Pedestrian safety.

  • Safety and efficiency for student transport, changes in traffic patterns and major routes. Superintendent David Lewis said he wants to eliminate situations where neighborhoods have students living on opposite sides of a street assigned to different schools.

In a video MCSD director of operations Travis Anderson showed the board, Eddy Middle School principal Kevin Aviles said some middle schools have as many as seven feeder schools. Having less would help these schools create more of a community atmosphere, he said.

MCSD officials did not respond to Ledger-Enquirer questions about the restructuring of the attendance area, such as what the timeline for the process is and whether each MCSD school will have a new attendance area, prior to publication.

Anderson told the council that a mandatory 30-day comment period will allow the public to provide input on the administration’s proposal before the new attendance areas are finalized, but he did not specify how and when. .

Schools of re-segregation?

District 4 Representative Naomi Buckner wondered aloud if restructuring attendance areas would result in schools being segregated “even more than we have now.”

Anderson replied, “We consider the impact of demographics to make sure we don’t unintentionally create a situation where we segregate our schools.”

He said: “Our city as a whole is extremely diverse.”

Buckner countered, “Our city is extremely diverse, but many of our neighborhoods are segregated.”

MCSD PRESENCE AREA TASK FORCE

  • Travis Anderson, Director of Operations.

  • Terry Baker, West Region Manager.

  • Robin Barber, Director of Operations and Support Services.

  • Jeff Battles, athletic director.

  • Matt Bell, Central Region Manager.

  • Jerald Bellamy, transportation operations supervisor.

  • Tonya Douglass, principal of Waddell Elementary School.

  • Wes Drury, Director of Business Development and Support.

  • Kenya Gilmore, director of prevention and intervention practices.

  • Erika Grantham, transportation route specialist.

  • Sureya Hendrick, Principal of Shaw High School.

  • Christine Hull, Executive Director of the K-12 program.

  • Godfrey Jackson, Director of Transportation.

  • Stéphanie Lilly, deputy director of transport.

  • Terri Myers, director of the Rothschild Leadership Academy.

  • Trikella Nelson, Director of Orientation Programs.

  • Kevin Scott, Director of Student Services.

  • Sonia Sheehan, Student Services Manager.

  • Kimberly Thomas, Director of Early Success Centers.

  • Victoria Thomas, Director of Vocational, Technical and Agricultural Education.

  • Ronald Wiggins, Eastern Region Chief.

  • Kimberly Wright, Director of Communications.

This story was originally published September 14, 2022 11:27 a.m.

Ledger-Enquirer staff writer Mark Rice covers education and other youth issues. He also writes reports on any exciting subject. He has reported from Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley for more than a quarter century. He welcomes your tips and questions about local news.

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