Rezoning meetings planned for Perry, Warner Robins elementary schools

jmink@macon.comJanuary 19, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- As Houston County officials look to open new school buildings next academic year, parents are invited to rezoning meetings Tuesday and Wednesday to determine how their children will be affected.

An estimated 500 to 600 students will begin school at the new Langston Road Elementary School in Perry this summer, and those students will come from Matt Arthur, Morningside, Kings Chapel and Tucker elementary schools, as well as Perry Primary School.

“It’s a complex process,” Cindy Flesher, assistant superintendent for school operations, said of rezoning schools. “We’ll share the thought process behind that, unveil the proposal and answer any questions.”

Additionally, as workers finish renovating the former Linwood Elementary School in Warner Robins, that building is scheduled to open next school year and will be renamed Pearl Stephens Elementary School. The current Pearl Stephens school will house the district’s alternative school.

The former Linwood and Pearl Stephens zones will then merge, with third through fifth grade housed at the new Pearl Stephens Elementary and pre-kindergarten through second grade at the new C.B. Watson Primary School in Warner Robins.

Also, some students from Russell Elementary School will be affected. In an effort to relieve crowding at Russell, students from the Booth Road area can expect to be moved to the Pearl Stephens and C.B. Watson zones.

The new schools -- and the zone changes -- will help alleviate crowding at several schools, particularly Russell and Matt Arthur, Flesher said.

“They’re really bursting at the seams and have students in portable trailers,” Flesher said of Matt Arthur.

The meetings will be 6 p.m. Tuesday at Perry High School for the Perry area elementary schools, and 6 p.m. Wednesday at Russell Elementary for the Warner Robins schools. The school board will vote on the final school zones Feb. 11 during its regular meeting.

While officials do not expect all parents to be happy with zone changes, they are necessary, Flesher said. Officials recently held reorganization meetings for Parkwood, Westside and Lindsey elementary schools, where administrators proposed shuffling grade levels and making them sister schools. That plan was canceled in December after parents voiced concerns.

But that will not be the case this time. Officials must populate those new school buildings and alleviate others, so rezoning is crucial, Flesher said. Still, community feedback is essential, she said.

“Our parents and anyone else interested are encouraged to attend the meetings to share their views,” Superintendent Robin Hines said in a news release. “Public input will be an important part of the final decision.”

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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