By MARINA WATERS
The Washington County School District will be seeing changes in the northern part of the county.
The Washington County Board of Education unanimously voted to approve a redistricting plan for the north side of the county map. Board member and planning committee chairman Phillip McLain said the plan was constructed to relieve the high occupancy at Ridgeview Elementary, recruit enrollment at the future Boones Creek School and increase enrollment at Sulphur Springs Elementary and Gray Elementary.
“The adjustments that are recommended have to do with bus routes. The first thing I want to tell you is as the bus routes change, where those students ride a bus to changes. If they still want to go to that school, they have to become car riders. The way this process works, it’ll actually take seven years to completely work through the total rezoning.
“They may not all ride the bus to the new school. Mom and dad may take them to RidgeView. We’ll allow that to happen for seven years. As those children move on, (future students in those same zones) will be at the new school from that particular bus route.”
The plan includes moving 75 students from Ridgeview to Gray, 70 students from Ridgeview to Sulphur Springs and 44 from Ridgeview to Boones Creek. Meanwhile, 32 students will be moved from Gray to Boones Creek and 18 from Sulphur Springs to Boones Creek.
Board member Mary Beth Dellinger said she felt the shuffling still won’t put enough students in the new Boones Creek School. Meanwhile, board member Chad Fleenor said he felt part of the map near Bugaboo Springs should be in the Boones Creek School district.
“I’m just saying the bus is going to go right by there. To me, they ought to be going to Boones Creek. The hold up is that we’re afraid they’re going to Boone verses Crockett. I just think that’s not a very good idea. I’d like to see that amended to grab that, myself.”
Director of Schools Bill Flanary said as of now, Daniel Boone High School is at about 95 percent capacity. Crockett, he said, could use some added students. BOE Chairman Keith Ervin said he opposed changing the boundary of that area.
“Chad, I understand what you’re saying, but I can’t support Crockett kids, and Jonesborough verses Boones Creek, Boone,” Ervin said. “We’ve had these lines the same for 40 years.”
Board members said a future town hall meeting will be scheduled to allow parents and citizens to voice their opinions about the redistricting plan.