The Columbia Board of Education is scheduled to vote on a revised version of an attendance area boundaries map Monday. The latest maps were prompted by a new middle school set to open in 2020 and to avoid future overcrowding.
A consulting firm created four map options. The school board asked the firm to further study the “Option 2” map and make adjustments based on community feedback.
The board is also considering a plan to grandfather students currently enrolled to remain at their current schools.
Columbia school board member Jonathan Sessions says grandfathering falls on a spectrum: No one is grandfathered at all or there is a continuous grandfathering process. Sessions says he is interested in hearing the presentation before making up his mind about what would be best for the school district.
“Finding the spot in that spectrum that will best fit the needs of Columbia Public Schools and best address the issue of overcrowding is where we need to fall,” Sessions said.
Jennifer Roberts is a creator of a parent group called Start2Finish, which wants students to be grandfathered in. She says middle school students have already toured high schools.
“They have signed up for their classes already, and each high school has different class offerings,” Roberts said. “So they’ve already gone through this process of sort of a preliminary orientation.”
Randy Gooch, chief operations officer of Columbia Public Schools, said the estimated cost of grandfathering would be $200,000 to $250,000.