With McAllister Elementary set to open in South Bryan in August 2015, Bryan County Schools will hold a series of community forums beginning Nov. 6 to get feedback on districting, as school officials figure out how to set elementary school attendance lines.
“This is a major undertaking for the school board, one of the largest since I’ve been on the board,” said Board of Education Chairman Eddie Warren. “We are trying to plan out so we don’t have to move the district lines each year due to growth. That’s why we are seeking and welcome input from the community in order to make sure we are covering all the bases the best we can.”
A second meeting will be held Dec. 4 and a third and final meeting will be held Jan. 8. All begin at 7 p.m. and will at the Richmond Hill Middle School cafeteria.
But parents and other residents who want to get an early look at the process can go to the Bryan County Schools website at www.bryan.k12.ga.us., where a page on districting is already up and working, school board members were told Thursday night at a board work session in Black Creek.
Bryan County Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul Brooksher called McAllister Elementary “a much needed addition,” because of the system’s growth rate, which has grown an estimated three percent a year – if not more in some years – annually for years.
And that’s meant new schools, including Richmond Hill Middle School, which opened in 2012 and Richmond Hill Elementary, which was opened in 2009. Up next are McAllister Elementary, which is set to open at the start of the 2015-2016 school year, and a larger Bryan County Elementary, also slated to be ready by August 2015.
But it’s South Bryan which has seen the most growth in population, resulting in the district’s booming enrollment – more than 8,000 attend the county’s nine schools, and Brooksher, who said the system continues to be challenged with “significant growth,” said the system’s enrollment has gone up by more than 1,200 in just the last five years alone.
“As student enrollment continues to grow, schools must be added and attendance lines must be drawn to best utilize district facilities,” Brooksher said. “Considering this is the first time in the history of Bryan County Schools where attendance lines are necessary, it is imperative we work through this process in a thorough manner and welcome input from our community.”
The districting page on the website also includes an email address – firstname.lastname@example.org – for residents to weigh in on the process, which will apparently include presentations from school officials and “small group facilitated discussions.”
About McAllister Elementary
The school will become Bryan County Schools’ first Pre-K through fifth grade elementary school and is being built to accommodate 1,000 students. It’s off Highway 144 at the entrance of DeVaul Henderson Park.
Both McAllister Elementary and the new Bryan County Elementary, located off Payne Drive near Bryan County High and Bryan County Middle, are being paid for through Special Local Option Sales Taxes. They are estimated to cost around $36.6 million to complete -- $19.8 million for McAllister and $16.7 for BCES, which will be big enough for about 600 students, with room to expand.
Work on both schools is on schedule, according to the system’s construction manager, Bill Vickery.
The school system sold about $23.5 million in bonds in September 2013 to help build the schools, a move expected to net the BoE about $24.7 million to fund the construction.