Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield reiterated Wednesday that all seniors for the 2018-19 school year will “have the opportunity to graduate from their school of choice” as redistricting continues to take shape in South Hall.
The redistricting is making way for the new Cherokee Bluff middle and high schools, which will be housed in the current Flowery Branch High building. Cherokee Bluff High will be the county’s seventh high school.
Freshmen, sophomore and junior siblings of seniors will be granted enrollment where their senior brothers and sisters attend, Schofield said in a letter that was distributed by email, the district website and social media Wednesday. He told The Times in a phone interview he wants to limit parents from having to go in different directions to take their middle and high school students to school.
Schofield said enrollment at each school is still being determined as rising seniors make their choices. He added that some rising seniors who originally wanted to stay at their current school have since changed their mind and decided to attend Cherokee Bluff.
He said that while the district changes are necessary, he knows they aren’t a welcome change for families.
“Redistricting is emotional for everybody involved. It comes with a growing district,” Schofield told The Times. “That’s never any fun for the families involved. I get that.”
The district is also working to provide transfer request forms, first for rising juniors.
“At this time, it appears there will be a limited number of seats available at both Johnson and Flowery Branch High School,” Schofield wrote in the letter.
He said the district expects to communicate the transfer request process to parents of juniors by the end of January. If more transfer requests are received than there are spots available, Schofield said in the interview the district would be as fair and transparent as possible in determining who gets the spots.
The letter comes after Schofield indicated in December school choice would likely need to be limited in South Hall to avoid overcrowding as school locations are shuffled. He said in the Wednesday phone interview he hopes once the district is a couple of years into these changes and students are going where they are zoned, broader school choice will be able to return unless one school experiences “explosive growth.”
In the changes, Flowery Branch High will move back to its previous building, now used as Davis Middle School on Hog Mountain Road; Davis Middle returns to its previous home, now South Hall Middle on Falcon Parkway; and South Hall Middle to its former building, now used for Da Vinci Academy and World Language Academy at Poplar Springs Road and Atlanta Highway.
For now, rising ninth-graders and 10th-graders have been enrolled at the school they are zoned for.
“We will continue to monitor capacity and will communicate with parents if available space should open up for … transfer requests in those grade levels,” Schofield wrote.