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New South Hall school attendance lines finalized
0111nath morris
Hall County school board Chairman Nath Morris

See attendance zone map

To look at the school attendance zones for Hall County middle and high schools that will take effect at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, go to http://apps.schoolsitelocator.com/?districtcode=00081#

After months of getting feedback and two public hearings in May, members of the Hall County school board unanimously approved a controversial change in school attendance lines for middle and high schools in South Hall.

The new lines are scheduled to take effect in August 2018, when new middle and high schools open at the current Flowery Branch High School. The new schools have not yet been named.

Under the plan, Flowery Branch High will move back to its original home at the current Davis Middle School and Davis will move back to its former home where South Hall Middle is now located. South Hall will move back to its former home at the Academies of Discovery.

The board faced some opposition to the proposed lines by some parents in the Johnson High School district, who will have to travel further to go to Flowery Branch High under the plan. But most of the opposition to the plan came from residents of the Sterling on the Lake community who set up a Facebook page and had the majority of speakers at public hearings at Johnson and Flowery Branch high schools in late May.

Board members acknowledged before the vote that their decision to approve the attendance lines has not been easy.

“It definitely was a difficult decision,” said board member Brian Sloan, whose district includes Sterling on the Lake. “I know, at first look to be honest, I was somewhat bothered by it, but as we studied it and got deeper into the process and talking about our best forecast of what may be happening, I am confident, but this was a very difficult one.”

Board member Bill Thompson said there wasn’t a plan that could have satisfied everyone.

“This is not a perfect process; it can’t be because everybody is not going to be happy,” he said. “There’s always going to be someone who feels like we haven’t taken everyone’s best interest at heart, but we try. I feel very good and very confident that we have done our duty in answering any questions anyone might have. For us to proceed forward, it’s the right path to take.”

Board Chairman Nath Morris agreed.

“I guess the most difficult times that I’ve spent in 16 years on the board have been times for redistricting and thank goodness, there haven’t happened a whole lot,” he said.

Morris also addressed concerns expressed by some residents during the process that a different school attendance zone could possibly mean lower academic standards for their children.

“There were things that were brought up (during hearings and discussions), and I don’t know how much I can let the parents out there know that we have a history of making sure we’re providing the most rigorous program we can and programs of choice and options for kids to be successful,” Morris said. “And that’s not going to change.”

In both public hearings Superintendent Will Schofield told residents that the new schools would open up space at all South Hall schools, meaning that parents there could use the district’s school choice option, which has not been available in South Hall. He said parents who wanted their children to go to a school outside their attendance zone would likely be able to do so through school choice.

“Students may apply to a school with a certain focus or a school with a unique program that matches their individual interests, aptitudes and goals,” according to the district’s website.

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