Residents of South Hall who opposed a Hall County school redistricting plan during public hearings last month might not be on hand for a final vote on the issue Monday night.
“I don’t think they are talking about being there Monday night,” said Jennifer Kovach, who helped lead opposition to the plan, particularly among residents in the Sterling by the Lake community. “Pretty much the impression that we had gotten from the school board — and my husband had met with (Hall Superintendent) Will Schofield — was that it was a done deal. There really wasn’t much that we were going to have a say in. It’s kind of hard to keep fighting.”
In an email response to The Times Friday afternoon Schofield confirmed he met with Brian Kovach:
“I believe the context of my comment to Brian was an honest appraisal of his question about whether I believed we had discovered anything that would lead us to suggest there was a better solution. No, I don’t believe there is and my recommendation will be to adopt the lines.”
If approved by the school board Monday night, the plan would take effect when new middle and high schools open in August 2018 in the building which currently houses Flowery Branch High. Under the plan, Flowery Branch would move back to its original home at Davis Middle School, Davis would move back to its former home at South Hall Middle and South Hall would move back to its original home at the Academies of Discovery.
Both Brian and Jennifer Kovach were among the speakers at the two public hearings in May at Flowery Branch and Johnson high schools. Most of the residents who spoke against the plan were residents of Sterling by the Lake. Many of the Sterling residents wanted their kids to go to the current Flowery Branch facility because it was closer to their neighborhood.
Kovach has said she wants to keep the students together from elementary school through middle and high school. Her child just finished first grade at Spout Springs Elementary School. She said this week the proposed redistricting plan “still doesn’t sit well with us.”
“We are still feeling like our neighborhood is kind of getting the raw end of the deal,” Kovach said. “It still doesn’t make sense for a number of reasons. I think we’re still frustrated and disheartened by the situation.”
During the public hearings, Schofield suggested that the new middle and high schools would provide more space in all schools, making it more likely that South Hall residents would have the option of school choice and could move to a preferred school through that option.
Kovach said she does not know if her family will use the choice option when her rising second-grader moves to middle school, and is not sure choice will be available.
“I can’t tell you what the future is going to hold for that,” she said about using a school choice option. “You look at the future numbers, the schools are going to be full. Our biggest concern was this splitting of the elementary schools. It wasn’t necessarily this building or another building. It had nothing to do with that.”
The board meeting is scheduled for Monday at 5 p.m. Schofield said Friday he is expecting a final vote on the proposal.