School boundary changes could affect where your Richmond County student learns

Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 6:07 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Among summer school, milestone testing, and teacher vaccinations, the Richmond County school board will discuss their years-long rightsizing initiative to the list.

The strategy has been going on since 2008. From the beginning, we’ve seen things like school closures, new school openings, and zoning changes.

Tonight, the board is discussing phase 6, which include three key changes.

It is a game of moving pieces to even out school populations.

“I can certainly see that if you have an overcrowded school, you would want to shift some of those numbers. That makes perfect sense to me,” said Richmond County parent Kelly Baldwin.

It is why the district is proposing moving some students from Murphy Middle School to Richmond Hill K-8.

Under the new plan, all students from Hains Elementary, and those from Wheeless Road who would normally go to Murphy and Butler, will now go to Richmond Hill instead.

It’s a decision that will reduce capacity at Murphy from 129 percent to 101 percent.

“They can focus more on the students when they have a better number.”

They’ll also plan to move two neighborhood units from Diamond Lakes elementary to Willis Foreman, reducing capacity at Diamond lakes to 68 percent.

All students who currently go to Diamond Lakes and feed into Hephzibah High School, would go to Willis Foreman Elementary instead.

The district says that will help ease the burden when new developments pop up in the Diamond Lakes area.

But it is the third proposal that has Baldwin the most concerned.

That is changing C.T. Walker Magnet School from K-8 to K-5, forcing families to choose a different magnet school for their kids transitioning to middle school.

“He did want to go all the way through. Obviously, he doesn’t want to leave his friends,” Baldwin said.

A product of growth in the district leaving families like hers with some tough choices.

Today, the board is just voting to hold public hearings on this phase of the plan. The actual deciding vote will happen next month.

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