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Rezoned parents have a week left to ask for waivers

POSTED: March 6, 2014 8:01 p.m.

Families of elementary school students who will be rezoned next school year have one more week to apply for their children to remain at their current school.

Zoning exception requests are being accepted for affected students at Blandford and Rincon elementary schools a month earlier than for children at the county’s other schools. The form is available at both schools and on the school district’s Web site, www.effinghamschools.com.

The deadline for the BES and RES requests is March 14. Completed forms should be turned in at the child’s current school.

Under Georgia law, public school students can attend a school in their district other than the one for which they are zoned, as long as the school has available space and a parent or guardian can provide the child’s transportation.

Each request will be considered based on the available space in the child’s grade level at that particular school. However, Superintendent Randy Shearouse is hopeful that all requests can be granted.

“If you have 20 first-graders who want to stay at Blandford, it may be difficult because you’d have to add a teacher in that case,” Shearouse said. “But overall it should be spread out over all the grade levels.”

BES and RES parents won’t be excluded from submitting a zoning exception request in April, when the process is opened to all Effingham County schools. However, Shearouse “strongly encouraged” them to apply now, while they have the first shot at it.

“If you don’t take advantage of this, it’s going to be more difficult in some situations to get into some schools,” he said. “There’s a good chance Blandford may not be open (to non-zoned students). Rincon may be open, whether someone fills it out by March 14 or not. It just depends.”

The Effingham County Board of Education approved the redistricting plan last month, to create more balance among the district’s elementary school enrollments. With 841 students, Blandford is filled to capacity.

In 2014-15, all students who live north of Fort Howard Road will attend RES and all south of it will go to BES. Students in the Hickory Knob area will move from Rincon to Ebenezer Elementary, and 66 pre-kindergarten students who had moved to Rincon will return to Blandford.

Using current enrollment figures, the new attendance lines will reduce Blandford’s enrollment to 744. Enrollment will increase slightly at Rincon from 637 to 669 and at Ebenezer from 645 to 710.

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