BoE redrawing should preserve communities

Tue, 10/24/2006 - 4:51pm
By: Letters to the ...

“If you build it, he will come.” In the case of the new Bennett’s Mill Middle School, this famous quote should read, “If you build it, we will fill it.”

The new proposed boundaries for secondary schools in Fayette County have been drawn to facilitate the opening of its new middle school and later its new high school in the center of the county. The Fayette County Board of Education is voting whether or not to accept the boundaries as they are proposed sometime before the end of the year.

I urge the BOE to vote against it.

This plan puts money before what is in the best interests of our kids. It is not in the best interests of our children to be uprooted and displaced from their community just to fill seats in a school that was built prematurely.

The way this plan is written there is one elementary school that will be split into three different middle schools, and those that are sent to the new Bennett’s Mill from this group will be split again into three different high schools.

This is just insane. There will be no consistency in our children’s friendships, and sense of community. Why are they doing this? Because it is most cost effective. BOE, don’t let the almighty dollar drive your decision here.

So what if the school only opens with 350 kids, and we lose some money in the short term. What is more important here? This plan may be perfect for future children that move into the area surrounding Bennett’s Mill, but what about the kids that are being pulled in now?

This plan does not address areas of future growth vs. areas that are landlocked. The area immediately surrounding the new middle school is prime real estate for homebuilders.

The unincorporated areas of Fayette County in the Whitewater School district are booming areas for growth. WWMS is the only middle school that is currently overcapacity. Why not pull more population from this area? The growth in that area will more than compensate for the population that they lose. Why pull kids out of an established, basically landlocked community?

The last time there was a redistricting and students were pulled from Kedron Elementary to fill Crabapple, Kedron being a landlocked population became severely under capacity. Why? There was no growing population to compensate for Kedron losing so many kids to Crabapple. The same will happen with J.C. Booth. The population will age, and classrooms will sit empty. Result: another redistricting.

The plan does not encourage any sense of stability for our families. I know the FCBOE is not responsible for ensuring a sense of stability for the families that live here. However, the fact remains that school systems are the lifeblood of most communities. It is not in the best interest of any community to move children around every three to four years for any reason. I see that as the future for Fayette County. When will it end?

I urge the BOE to rethink this proposed plan. You are not just redistricting kids in and out of different schools, you are redefining communities. You, with a swipe of a pen, have the power to do that. With that power also comes the responsibility to respect what is already here and who is already here. That sometimes means sucking it up, putting finances aside and doing what is right, not what is easy.

Beth Pullias
Peachtree City, Ga.

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