New Elementary FAQ
Our 10th elementary school is currently under construction on the Innovation Campus on Austin Road and will open to students in August 2023. The BCSS Board of Education decided on November 1, 2022, that the 10th elementary school will be rezoned as a traditional K-5 elementary school.
You will find answers to FAQ about the rezoning process below. (Updated after the BOE decision.) Additional questions can be submitted in the form at the bottom of this page. We will continue to update this FAQs page as we receive additional questions from our stakeholders.
FAQ about Rezoning for Traditional K-5 Elementary School
Typically, schools are rezoned to accommodate growth in one or more areas. Rezoning will relieve overcrowding at the current Apalachee cluster elementary schools by setting the attendance zones for the new school and adjusting the attendance zones for the remaining elementary schools in the cluster.
The new elementary school being built is within the Apalachee cluster and intended to accommodate the high growth in this area. Auburn Elementary, Bethlehem Elementary, Kennedy Elementary, and Yargo Elementary would be impacted. Haymon-Morris Middle and Westside Middle Schools are likely to also be affected by a traditional rezone.
School Choice options are available to all students through the BCSS HB251 process, which typically happens in May. The new elementary school, whether it is a 4/5 Academy or K-5 Elementary School, is dedicated to relieving the overcrowding in the Apalachee cluster elementary schools. School choice would not be available for the new school for the first four years.
In a traditional rezone, the Board of Education may consider allowing 5th graders to remain at their current school if parents provide transportation.
BCSS has a system of feeder schools so that each elementary school feeds a specific middle school. In a traditional rezone scenario, Haymon-Morris and Westside Middle Schools would likely be rezoned to match the zones of elementary schools feeding into them. In addition, a decision will be made as to which middle school the new elementary school students would attend.
BCSS transportation has been planning for our school system’s growth with the purchase of additional large capacity buses. We will continue to provide school bus transportation as an option for students attending the new school.
Transportation’s goal is to keep routes as short as possible. We try not to have any student on a route that is scheduled to take longer than 1 hour.
Yes, elementary students will ride separate buses from older students. There are no plans to combine elementary students with middle or high school students on buses.
The new elementary school will help alleviate overcrowding in the Apalachee cluster elementary schools. The new school will reduce the overall number of students in each AHS cluster elementary school by an average of 250-300 students per school. Some schools are currently more overcrowded than others and will see more relief. It is important to note that class size is dependent on the total number of students in each grade level.
Trailers may not be necessary to use next school year. Some of the mobile units will likely be left at each campus to accommodate future growth.
The number of students at each of the two middle schools in the AHS cluster will be adjusted by the addition of the new school. In the Winder-Barrow cluster, Russell Middle School is our largest middle school; it has three elementary schools feeding into it.
During the rezoning planning process, a committee of school staff and parents is created to provide input on attendance lines. Tentative maps will be shared with all families later for additional input and consideration. Final rezone maps would be available sometime in the late winter or early spring. The rezoning would go into effect at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year when the new school opens.
Our routing and planning software is designed to create maps and tell us which students fall into each attendance zone. A committee including representatives from each school will make recommendations regarding the attendance zones based on the data provided by this program. The goal is to balance the number of students attending each school.
Students will complete the 2022-2023 school year at their current schools. Rezoning planning would be completed this school year. Implementation would go into effect at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year when the new school opens.
Students who receive services currently will continue to receive them, regardless of attendance zones.
This is a great suggestion. We will share this idea with principals once a final decision is made about the new school.
Yes, we anticipate being able to offer Pre-K at the new elementary school. BCSS must apply and get approval to add additional Pre-K classes in the county, so we will not know until that process is completed in the spring.
Questions Related to Staff & Future Plans
Phase II of the Barrow Arts and Sciences Academy High School is currently underway. This will add a second academic building on the campus and complete construction for BASA with a capacity of 1,800 students. Grading for a new middle school is nearly complete at the Innovation Campus but timing for building construction is dependent upon available state and local funding. Additional land is being studied for future school construction as well.
New school planning is an ongoing process. Our staff consider existing property and explore the purchase of new property as future school sites. As a district, we must accumulate funding at the State level to pair with available local funds to construct new classrooms. State funding typically lags the actual growth that we see. Mobile classroom units will be utilized to accommodate growth.
Transportation will continue to transport staff children to other BCSS schools where possible.
In a traditional rezone, it is usually necessary for some teachers at the existing schools to move to the new school. Once a principal is established for the new school, the process for transfers will be communicated with our staff.
Contracts are with the school system, not with specific schools. It is unlikely that all transfer decisions would be made prior to the release of contracts.
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