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Dawson schools redraw attendance zones
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The Dawson County Board of Education is moving forward with plans to redraw attendance zones to make way for the district’s fourth elementary school.

Riverview Elementary, led by longtime administrator and current Black’s Mill Elementary School Principal Julia Mashburn, is scheduled to open this fall. It is located in southern Dawson County.

The chief goal behind the redistricting for the school, Superintendent Keith Porter said, is to relieve crowding at Robinson Elementary near downtown Dawsonville.

Robinson’s enrollment of nearly 700 students could drop to about 535 under the proposal.

Attendance at other elementary schools also would drop. Projections show Black’s Mill would have 351 students, Kilough, 464, and Riverview, 315.

“The one thing about the Dawson County community is it places a great emphasis on having community schools, and we’re going to have some low enrollments,” said Porter during a school board meeting earlier this month. “It allows teachers, principals and administrative staff to really know those kids. We’ve tried to stay away from the ‘mega schools.’”

Officials sent a letter home to parents last week informing them about which school their children would attend next school year.

An accompanying survey asked parents if, given the option, they would take advantage of school choice.

The board’s final vote on the attendance zones could come April 12.

Kim Bennett, vice principal at Robinson, said reducing the school’s student population “will help tremendously.”

“It will make a difference,” she said. “It’s going to be a good thing, but for me ... to lose some of our kids is going to break my heart. You get used to seeing their faces every day.”