Columbia County rezoning proposal revised, now only two schools involved

Columbia County rezoning proposal revised, now only two schools involved
Parents at the Columbia County School Board rezoning proposal hearing (Lex Juarez)

HARLEM, GA (WFXG) -

Columbia County rezoning proposal revised, now only two schools involved

Columbia County Schools has updated the proposed rezoning plan they released in November. The original plan impacted over 300 students and 11 different schools. The updated proposal only includes two schools and 94 students. The purpose for rezoning revolves mainly around the new North Harlem Elementary School that is opening August 2019.

Some families are relieved to hear that under the new proposal, their children will be able to stay where they are. Jennifer Miller, a parent who’s three children were going to be impacted, said, “I was a little shocked. It’s a good shock, a very good shock. I’m happy that they were able to look into those options instead of rezoning our children." Her oldest, Renee, said, “I’m just really thankful that I get to stay with my group of friends, stay in the school that I wanted to go next year. It’s a really good opportunity for me.”

After releasing the first proposal, the school board took comments and concerns while they continued to look for other options. Penny Jackson, Assistant Superintendent of Columbia County Schools, said, “We started exploring some scheduling alternatives and other options that might relieve some growth.” Those options worked out and opened up the opportunity for revising the rezoning plan. Now, the only schools impacted by the proposal would be Euchee Creek Elementary and North Harlem Elementary.

This is not the first time the two schools have had students rezoned between them. Emily Harrison, who currently teaches at both schools, said, “I was one of the kids that were rezoned to come to Euchee Creek when they first built Euchee Creek with the growing population 20 years ago.” Harrison said that back then, the transition was easy. As someone who sees both schools every day, she said that students should not have a hard time transitioning if the proposal is approved. “When you walk in one school, you feel a comfort, and you feel the same comfort at both schools; where it’s warm, it’s welcoming and it’s inviting.”

The Columbia County School Board is holding one more public hearing on the rezoning on January 15th at Euchee Creek Elementary. They are welcoming community members to send them comments or concerns to zoning@ccboe.net.

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