The Cannon County Board of Education voted to rezone 14 roads currently in the Woodbury Grammar zone into the West Side School district during the completion of a recessed meeting Thursday.
The vote followed a public hearing where citizens were given an opportunity to voice their concerns, ask questions and be educated on reasons for the rezoning. There was no opposition to the changes.
Board member Cathy Hyatt made the motion for the rezoning and waiver, which would allow students currently attending the out-of-zone school to remain there if they desire. Mike Mayfield seconded and the vote passed 3-0. Board member Shannon Davenport excused herself from the vote and Chris Blackburn was on vacation.
"I did not vote because it involved my children and the road (where I live)," Davenport said. "For that reason I felt like I should not vote on this issue."
Re-zoning will take roads currently zoned to Woodbury Grammar and move them into the West Side district. Students currently enrolled in Woodbury Grammer will have the option of remaining at the school.
Roads or lanes to be re-zoned into the West Side School district include: Old Hwy. 70 to the cemetery (west side); Lonesome Dove, Genia's Circle, Riverview, Jill Lane, Mockingbird Lane, Hoover Mill, Ralexi Lane, Bush Haven, Hollis Creek North, Dickens Hill to Frank Holt Road from Bradyville, Frank Holt Road and Riverbend.
Prior to 1990 most of these roads were zoned for West Side; but due to overcrowding issues at West Side, the zone was changed to incorporate these roads into the Woodbury Grammar School zone. In an effort to equalize school zones, the Board rezoned these roads to the West Side School zone.
"Out of all of these road there are only seven students that are actually going to their school of zone, Woodbury Grammar," Cannon County Director of Schools Barbara Parker said. "All the rest of the students (on these roads) are already transferred into West Side. We are looking at seven students (being rezoned) and only two of those seven ride a bus to school."
The families of these seven students received hand-delivered letters Monday to inform them of the hearing and the potential re-zoning, Parker said. The re-zoning will also make bus transportation safer for children on Dickens Hill Road.
Students on Dickens Hill Road currently walk down the street to catch the bus; however, the new zoning would have the bus come in front of their homes and pick students up at their driveway instead of having them walk.
"It is increasing safety in the Bradyville area," Parker said.
Parker said the Board of Education will consider rezoning for additional elementary schools in the future as a means of addressing overcrowding issues. The Board passed a new transfer policy at its July meeting that would not allow students to attend a school out of zone if it created overcrowding.
"As long as we had a transfer policy where it was kind of open enrollment across the county it didn't matter how we rezoned as we allowed them to transfer to another school in the county," Parker said. "We weren't doing anything to take care of our problem in overcrowding and filling up our schools."
The West Side district was the first to be rezoned because it was the easiest to re-route and involved the fewest number of students entering the current school year.
West Side was chosen because it is the easiest one to do right now.
"Most of the students (on the rezoned roads) are already attending West Side anyway. We are just making it their actual school of zone," Parker said.
The Board of Education is expected to consider the East Side district next but that consideration appears to be well down the road and no re-zoning is expected for that district during the 2011-12 school year.