Leader Blues

Saturday, November 25, 2006

TOP STORY >>School to cause rezoning

IN SHORT: Cabot will alter attendance areas next year to equalize student enrollment throughout the district.

Leader staff writer

This spring, the Cabot School District will redraw the school-attendance boundaries for the opening of an eighth elementary school in August. The change is expected to have the most impact for students at Southside Elementary and Eastside Elementary. Redrawing the boundaries is needed to equalize the student population at the elementary schools.

In 2006-07, Cabot’s elementary school enrollment ranged from 385 to 640. After Stage-coach Elementary is opened, the student population at the elementaries will be 450 to 550.

Cabot is the second fastest growing city in the state and rezoning is necessary, said school board members Tuesday night.

“There is no good way to spin a rezone, the good news is it’s the result of us growing. We have kids and families and people coming to the Cabot School District because we have good things going on. Rezoning is a tough thing to swallow no matter what school you’re in. It’s a very positive thing that we’re able to do good things within the school district because we do experience good growth. We’re going to do the best thing we can do as a board to get feedback at every level we can to make qualified decisions,” said Jim Coy, school board member.

One reason parents get upset about rezoning is the disruption it can cause in students’ lives. Rezoning can cause children on the boundaries of attendance zones to change schools. It can also breaking up neighborhood friendships and routines such as groups of students who walk home together. Students’ favorite teachers may also change schools. A committee of the Parent Teacher Organizations from all the schools in the district will be formed to help rezone the attendance areas.

“We will ask for the public to give us comments and suggestions, but our goal is to have a pretty good plan by March so we can visit with staff about who might want to transfer,” Holman said.

The district will consider geographic location, bus routes, traffic patterns as well as the size of each school during the rezoning.