BONAIRE -- Parents in one Houston County subdivision aren’t happy about where their kids go to school, and they addressed the school board about it Monday.
Alicia Glen spoke on behalf of Governor’s Estate Subdivision, which is located off Old Perry Road near Ga. 96 in Bonaire. Students there are zoned for Hilltop Elementary, Huntington Middle School and Warner Robins High School, but Glen requested a rezoning that would put them at Bonaire Middle School, where Monday’s work session was held.
“Every time we have a neighborhood meeting, this is brought up,” said Glen, who is on the board for the subdivision’s homeowner’s association.
Bonaire Middle School is less than 2 miles from the entrance to the subdivision, about 3 miles closer than Huntington. The subdivision is close to the line for the Bonaire Middle zone as well.
“The homes directly across Old Perry Road from our subdivision are zoned for Bonaire Middle,” Glen said. “Buses already pass by our neighborhood to take children from Old Perry Road to Bonaire Middle School, while additional buses drive through our neighborhood to take children to Huntington Middle School. Rezoning would reduce the number of buses required for middle school in this area.”
While middle school rezoning is under consideration for the 2016-17 school year, board chairman Fred Wilson said the first priority during that process would go to lowering the student count at the county’s more crowded schools. Unfortunately for the residents of Governor’s Estate, Bonaire Middle is on that list with 1,002 students last spring, when Huntington had just 720.
“We’ve got to get a better balance,” Wilson said.
Glen came prepared with a recommendation related to that issue, pointing to the expansive nature of Bonaire Middle’s zone. She suggested that the students who live closer to Houston Lake Road could attend Mossy Creek or Feagin Mill middle schools, which had student counts of 677 and 769 students, respectively.
She also expressed concerns that the subdivision voted in District 5, which is represented by board vice chairwoman Helen Hughes.
Hughes doesn’t officially represent Huntington Middle or Warner Robins High, though.
“If we have concerns with the schools our children attend, we do not currently elect a school board member responsible for those schools,” Glen said.
The board also looked at a 180-day calendar for the 2016-17 school year, which would start on Friday, July 29, and end on Wednesday, May 24. Superintendent Mark Scott said both ends of the calendar worked best for planning, particularly at the high school level. Starting on a Friday gives administrators a weekend to resolve scheduling issues, while ending on a Wednesday allows for two days without classes for teachers to lead graduation practice.
“It just gives a lot of flexibility with that,” Scott said.
The board will hold its regular monthly meeting Tuesday at 1 p.m.
To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331 or find him on Twitter @MTJTimm.