Steve Flynt, Gwinnett’s chief strategy and performance officer, has heard the complaints and said another elementary school scheduled to open in 2017 should further ease overcrowding at Peachtree Elementary.
Gwinnett, Georgia’s largest school district, has grown by about 8,000 students over the past two years, district officials said. The district plans to open a new high school, a new middle school and two new elementary schools in August 2015 to accommodate the growth — thus the redistricting.
A group of parents created a Facebook page outlining objections. A handful of them attended a school board meeting to voice their concerns. District officials will review the feedback and possibly make changes.
“It’s a difficult process for those who are changing schools,” Flynt said.
Beth Tuttle is worried about the academic performance at Richards Middle School, where her daughter, a straight-A student in Gwin Oaks Elementary School’s gifted program, is being reassigned. Richards’ state College and Career Ready Peformance Index score is 15 points lower than the score of the school she was scheduled to attend.
“If I take my all-A student and put her in a school with a lower rating, is she expected to perform at a lower standard?” Tuttle asked.
Flynt said the district does not consider CCRPI scores or demographics during redistricting. Gwinnett has a process that allows some students to stay at a particular school, but the parent or guardian must provide transportation for the student.
Some parents say transportation is a problem. Ann Malkoc, whose son is a second-grader at Bethesda Elementary School, noted he would be reassigned to Alford Elementary, which is more than a half-mile farther away. Malkoc doesn't believe it's practical, one of several reasons she doesn't support the proposed changes.
“I’ve been over the moon about (Bethesda) and the quality of instruction,” Malkoc said. “It breaks my heart to have to leave that school.”