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Redistricting a possibility for Jefferson County schools

December 23, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Some students in Jefferson County Schools may end up going to other schools in the county to offset crowded conditions in classrooms.

In education circles, it's called redistricting.

Jefferson County Superintendent of Schools R. Steven Nichols told the Jefferson County Board of Education last Tuesday night that he believes school officials are going to have to consider some redistricting proposals to offset crowding conditions in some schools.

Nichols said if the Board of Education does not redistrict some school attendance zones, it will have to resort to buying portable classrooms to make more space.

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Nichols told Board of Education members he wants to set up a series of meetings with them to discuss proposals.

The board and Nichols agreed to meet Jan. 14, Jan. 22 and Feb. 6.

Nichols said although members of the public are welcome to come to the meetings to hear the discussions, the meetings will be reserved for dialogue between Nichols and board members. Meetings will be set up later to gather input from the community, Nichols said.

Board of Education President Lori Stilley declined to say which schools might be affected by redistricting, saying she wants to wait until the first meeting before she makes any statements.

"We don't have many schools that are not overcrowded," Stilley said.

Stilley said any redistricting proposal is likely to include setting up an attendance zone for a second high school, which at this point is being proposed for a site at the Huntfield development just south of Charles Town. An attendance zone is also likely to be set up for a second elementary school, Stilley said.

School officials have been keeping an eye on student growth this year.

Nichols initially reported that about 200 new students showed up in classrooms this fall, forcing the school system to hire more teachers.

Nichols referred to the figure as overall enrollment, which accounts for students who move in and out of the school system over a certain time period.

There were 587 new enrollees - additional students coming into the system - this year, Nichols said.

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