Rezoning canceled for three Houston elementary schools

jmink@macon.comDecember 20, 2013 


Houston County School Superintendent Robin Hines.


WARNER ROBINS -- Officials have nixed plans to reorganize Lindsey, Westside and Parkwood elementary schools in Houston County after receiving several parent complaints, Superintendent Robin Hines said.

“Just from the feedback ... we felt it would put a hardship on the parents,” he said. “So we’ll find other ways to improve achievement levels at those schools, just like we always do.”

Faculty members and parents were informed Friday of the decision, officials said.

The plan was to make Lindsey, Parkwood and Westside sister schools next academic year, with pre-kindergarten through first grade at Parkwood, second and third grade at Westside and fourth and fifth grade at Lindsey. It was an attempt to streamline employees and funding, allowing each school to specialize in a couple of grades. Officials said the plan would foster better teacher collaboration and place more focus on each grade level.

But many parents were not enthusiastic. During public meetings at each school, many voiced concerns over transportation and after-school child care. Several parents, who would have had multiple children at different elementary schools, argued navigating transportation would be difficult. Some, such as Theron Brown, said switching schools would disrupt their children’s routines.

“They already are changing schools too often,” Brown said during a meeting at Westside Dec. 10.

Houston school officials listened. The reorganization meetings were held to gather community input, and it became clear many parents believe a reorganization would cause hardships, Hines said.

“That was the purpose of the process. It was simply a proposal, not a decision,” Hines said, “and it was important for myself and the board to get feedback from the community.”

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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