Education

Some Lexington schools are redistricting again. Which neighborhoods could be affected?

How will people react when their homes are reassigned to Lexington's newest public elementary school on Athens Boonesboro Road or to another Fayette school for the 2019-20 school year?

The final decision on which Lexington addresses will be reassigned to the elementary school on Athens Boonesboro Road that opens in 2019 or possibly to other elementary schools isn't expected to be made by the Fayette County Public Schools board until August.

But this week, a committee of school district representatives, parents and people representing home builders, Realtors, the city and Commerce Lexington talked about draft scenarios for areas that could potentially be redistricted. They set a tentative date for a public forum on July 24. The time and other details are pending.

Here are some areas that could be redistricted to the new school:

Man-O-War Blvd east of Richmond Road and Squires Road south of Man-O-War.

Future development in the Peninsula subdivision off Squires Road.

Outbound Richmond Road.

Andover Hills.

Stuart Hall.

A large area outside of the urban services area, the city's growth boundary.

Bainbridge Drive.

▪ Darby Creek Road.

"With approximately 1,100 students living in the current Athens-Chilesburg Elementary attendance area, the committee is looking for a logical attendance zone to serve the new school on Athens Boonesboro Road," said Fayette Pupil Personnel Director Steve Hill.

Nothing is set in stone at this point, officials said. The committee is still in the discussion stage, gathering information from a demographics firm.

"All we are doing is looking at those opportunities," said Hill.

District officials said they think most families will be excited to be assigned to the new school that will be the largest ever built in Fayette County or to be reassigned in a way that would result in more neighborhood schools and schools that are less crowded. But those officials also aware that with any school redistricting effort comes a certain amount of angst.

Since Athens-Chilesburg Elementary, often called ACE, opened in 2006, Principal Peggy Henderson has seen public outcry from families who want to attend ACE, a highly rated and overcrowded elementary, but who have been assigned to other schools.

"It's been a battle. In the 12 years that we've been here its never been good over who goes to ACE and who doesn't," Henderson said at a meeting on Tuesday.

Athens-Chilesburg Elementary at 930 Jouett Creek Drive, had 786 students at the end of 2017-18 and was built for 650.

About 129 students who were moved from ACE to Garrett Morgan Elementary when that school opened in 2016, might be moved back to ACE under one scenario. The district is already placing portable classroom units at Garrett Morgan for the 2018-19 school year due to overcrowding. The school is at 1150 Passage Mound Way. It had 748 students at the end of the 2017-18 school year and and was built for 650.

Henderson said in an interview there are some neighborhoods that were moved during the redistricting effort three years ago who have been mentioned again during this round of discussions.

"I don't want to move the same people more than once if we don't have to," said Henderson. She also would like to keep the lower income Bainbridge Drive area because it brings diverse students to ACE. “We’ve developed a long-term relationship with them that's been beneficial both ways" with a summer meals program and other services.

"I'm trying to advocate for everybody," said Henderson.

Garrett Morgan Principal Sarah Woodford said "the process is complicated and tedious because we don't want to lose any of our kids. But we also have to address a very obvious overcrowding of a brand new school."

Initially, officials said homes currently assigned to Garrett Morgan and Squires might be rezoned to the new Athens Boonesboro Elementary, but those scenarios were not mentioned Tuesday.

At Squires Elementary at 3337 Squire Oak Drive, said principal Sabrina Adkins, there is room for more students.

"We can help to relieve some of the overcrowding in some of other schools."

Students at Julius Marks Elementary at 3277 Pepperhill Road could be moved to Squires Elementary, she said.

The attendance boundaries for Veteran's Park Elementary at 4351 Clearwater Way, which is overcrowded, could also be tweaked, Hill said.

The committee will meet next at 4 p.m. July 10 at the district's Central Office. People who want to follow the committee work can go to https://www.fcps.net/zones

Middle and high school school students will not be affected by the district's rezoning for the 2019-20 school year..

Adkins said the redistricting process is very challenging.

"You want to do right by all kids," she said.

Fayette County public schools Superintendent Emmanuel "Manny" Caulk discusses improvements and changes seen in the past few years in a State of the Schools address at the Embassy Suites in Lexington.

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