Conway Public Schools are considering “tweaks” to the elementary and middle school zoning for the 2014-15 school year.
The district went through a complete rezoning a few years ago, and Assistant Superintendent Carroll Bishop told the CPS Board of Education Tuesday night that the community could expect some tweaking to the zones before a full rezoning is done in the future.
“Really we’re retweaking our last rezoning,” he said. “We told the public that we would probably need to retweak from year to year and we’ve been able to make it a few years. This possibly will not be the last before we have a full-blown rezone.”
Superintendent Greg Murry said unexpected growth has led the district to this “retweaking,” but a full rezoning is at least a couple years down the road.
“We do not anticipate a full-blown rezoning until we have another elementary school that is completed,” he said. “We would never do that until we have another elementary school.”
On Feb. 20 at a specially-called meeting, the board moved to take steps to secure funds for an elementary school if it was needed in the next two years. Murry emphasized this move did not indicate that anything was set in stone, but it was important to take those steps in case growth continues and a new elementary school is needed sooner rather than later.
Bishop said at the beginning of this school year, Ellen Smith Elementary had seven kindergarten classes, indicating growth in that area. Marguerite Vann Elementary has also experience unexpected growth.
“We started off with good numbers after the rezoning, but the fast growth at both of these schools really caught us off guard,” he said.
The “retweaking” would move a few students around to balance out the elementary schools.
Carolyn Lewis would go from 444 students to 523 students. Ellen Smith Elementary School would go from 521 students to 437 students. Florence Mattison would go from 409 students to 482. Ida Burns Elementary School would go from 480 students to 410 students. Julia Lee Moore Elementary School would go from 308 students to 376 students. Marguerite Vann Elementary School would go from 530 students to 463. Jim Stone Elementary would go from 404 students to 406 students. Theodore Jones Elementary School would stay with 404 students. Woodrow Cummins Elementary School would also remain the same with 539 students.
Students from Ellen Smith would move to Carolyn Lewis, students from Marguerite Vann would go to Florence Mattison and students from Ida Burns would go to Julia Lee Moore.
The shift in zones would also impact middle schools because of which elementary schools feed into them. Jim Stone, Marguerite Vann and Carolyn Lewis feed into Carl Stuart Middle School. Ellen Smith and Florence Mattison feed into Bob Courtway Middle School. Julia Lee Moore and Theodore Jones feed into Simon Middle School. Ida Burns and Woodrow Cummins feed into Ruth Doyle Middle School.
Simon Middle School would go from 400 students to 448 students. Bob Courtway Middle School would go from 514 students to 510 students. Carl Stuart Middle School would go from 778 students to 783 students. Ruth Doyle Middle School would go from 530 students to 481 students.
The numbers reflect who lives in the zone, so true attendance numbers may vary slightly when considering waivers, teachers children and other contingencies.
“You must know, we do not take lightly moving people’s children,” Bishop said. “We do not take lightly changing people’s schools. It’s something that we need to do, that we have to do, and we’ve effected as few people as possible to do this.”
The board will be voting on the new maps at their April meeting. Bishop said he has heard from a handful of people so far and welcomes discussion from parents concerning the maps.
The current and proposed zoning maps are up at the elementary and middle schools as well as on the district website.
(Staff writer Angela Spencer can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1212. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)