New zones for high schools get board OK

COVINGTON -- Some high school students may attend a different high school than they originally had planned next year.

The Newton County Board of Education approved during its monthly meeting this month new high school attendance zones for the 2010-11 school year; board members Almond Turner and Eddie Johnson opposed the vote due to not agreeing with some of the drawn attendance lines.

The plan is meant to alleviate overcrowding at Newton High School and fill a new addition to Alcovy High School, with 1,000 high school seniors expected to graduate in May and 1,450 eighth-graders planning to move up next school year.

Capacity at Alcovy High is 1,500 students with six trailers, 1,375 students at Eastside High and 2,075 students at Newton High. There are 1,663 students enrolled at Alcovy, 1,316 at Eastside and 2,376 at Newton this year.

With the addition, capacity at Alcovy will move to 2,500 for the 2010-11 school year; the target enrolled for that school year will be 2,225 students at Alcovy, 1,320 at Eastside and 1,950 at Newton.

"The numbers do depend upon the option the board made at a former meeting ... that we allow students in zones that are currently in ninth, 10th and 11th grades ... that they have a one-time option to remain at their home zones they are in currently, provided transportation is a responsibility of students and families and there are no discipline problems," Whatley said.

Affected eighth-graders will be required to move to the new zones.

School system officials have worked for several months to redraw district lines based on minimizing changes to current attendance areas and considering the capacity of the schools, growth of zones, proximity to schools, neighborhood boundaries and feeder school assignments, Whatley said.

He said 513 students could be moved with the new lines -- this includes 132 eighth-graders and 381 high school students who do have an option of choice.

NCSS and schools have detailed maps and affected street names. Those moving from Eastside and Newton high schools to Alcovy High include students living along some parts of Flat Shoals Road, Henderson Mill Road, Ga. Highway 36, Ga. Highway 162 S. and Ga. Highway 81 S., among many other streets and subdivisions.

Current high school students have the option to remain in their schools and must provide their one-time choice by 5 p.m. April 2.

Whatley said schools will be working to determine the number of teachers, administrators, counselors and other people who need to be moved as a result of the enrollment and work with students on their class schedules.