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Board approves elementary rezonings
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The Newton County Board of Education voted 3-2 on Tuesday to accept proposed rezoning of elementary schools but postponed a vote on its middle school feeder schedule after some parents voiced concerns that their students may have switch schools next year.

"There have been questions that have come up as to a lack of communication to parents and how this (rezoning) has been billed as an elementary school rezoning," said Dr. Dennis Carpenter, deputy superintendent for operations for the school system.

Two elementary schools, Palmer-Stone and Ficquett, are being phased out next year, which will impact 10-15 percent of middle school students.

Middle schools were rezoned last year, but a change in feeder patterns caused by the phase-out of the schools will require a change for some middle schoolers.

Feeder patterns determine the way a child will progress through the school system. Patterns are determined by the location of where a student resides and that location within the school boundary. These patterns are subject to change as schools are built and zones are redrawn.

Because of the concern involving the middle school feeder patterns, the board decided to separate the agenda item which would allow them to vote on the middle school feeder patterns and the elementary school rezoning together.

They voted 3-2, with District 2 representative Eddie Johnson and District 4 representative Almond Turner opposed, to accept the rezoning of the elementary schools. They also voted 3-2, again with Johnson and Turner opposed, to hold off on voting on the middle school feeder patterns until after the first of the year.

"With the elementary zones I think we did a great job and we were very transparent but we weren’t as transparent about the middle school rezoning," said District 1 representative Johnny Smith. "Sure, we said at these meetings that 10 or 15 percent (of students) would be affected , but I just think that we need to go back to the drawing board and fix the plan completely instead of trying to just patch it."