Salem City Schools is considering making changes to its elementary school attendance zones at South Salem, East Salem and G.W. Carver elementary schools. The division attributed the need for changes to growth in the East Salem Elementary School attendance zone, specifically the Simms Farm housing development and Valleydale apartment project.
“While it appears that very few current students will be impacted by these changes, I want to assure you that any current students who are impacted will be allowed to stay at their current school until they go to Andrew Lewis Middle School,” Curtis Hicks, superintendent, said in a statement to families.
Hicks said in an interview with The Times-Register that the division believes only three students attend East Salem who currently live in the redistricted area. “We are going to continue to let those students attend East until they move on to middle school,” he said.
He went on to say in the statement that the plan to address the Simms Farm development will include homes on Franklin Street, Poff Lane, Ambler Lane, Phillips Brook, Bent Ridge, Upland Drive from Franklin Street to the corner of Upland and Westclub and the homes within the development. Homes that are currently under construction on the Simms property with driveways that directly access Upland Drive and Diamond Road are not included.
The plan to address the Valleydale project will only impact that property, he said. The complex will be redistricted from the East Salem to G.W. Carver attendance zones. “This plan does not impact any current residences or students,” he said.
Hicks explained that the redistricting process ultimately comes down to ensuring that none of the schools are over capacity. “We wouldn’t necessarily want one school to be over capacity, while we’ve got other schools that are significantly under capacity,” he said. “Right now, South Salem is a school that’s got the most capacity so we just felt like with this new subdivision being built on Simms Farm and the potential for 130 some houses we needed to act on that before the houses are built rather than waiting until after they’re completed. We wouldn’t want people buying houses in that subdivision thinking that they’re going to be going to one school when they’d ultimately be going to another.”
A public meeting was held at Andrew Lewis Middle School Tuesday evening. Parents and citizens were given the opportunity to review the proposed plan, ask questions and provide comments.
Hicks said there hasn’t been many strong feelings from the public about the process. “We went about this intentionally and disrupted as few families as possible,” he said. “I think most families understand what we’re trying to do. That’s why we did this before they built the subdivision and the same with Valleydale.”
The Salem City School Board will review and approve the plan, with changes if they are necessary, at its April 11 meeting.
“If you would like to address the board regarding the redistricting plan or if you simply need clarification, please contact Susan Young, Board Clerk. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 540-389-0130,” Hicks said.
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