Board plans shift in school attendance boundaries

January 29, 1996

County school officials are planning to shift attendance boundaries for some Pasadena elementary schools to alleviate crowding at George Fox Middle School.

The school board agreed last week to consider four proposals to send some students now destined for George Fox to Chesapeake Middle School instead, then return them to Northeast High School.

George Fox is in the Northeast High School feeder system, and Chesapeake Middle is in the Chesapeake High School system. The change would not take place until the school year that starts in September 1997.

The proposals stirred controversy during redistricting hearings last year. Riviera Beach Elementary parents didn't want their children sent anywhere but Fox, and Chesapeake parents were not eager to have them.

The four proposals are to:

* Send Riviera Beach Elementary students to Chesapeake instead of Fox and create two middle schools at Chesapeake.

* Send Riviera Beach Elementary students to Chesapeake, but leave Chesapeake as one middle school.

* Send Sunset Elementary students to one of two middle schools at Chesapeake instead of Fox.

* Put all sixth-graders from Fox and Chesapeake into an all-sixth-grade school in one part of Chesapeake. Operate Fox and the other side of Chesapeake, which was designed to house two schools, as middle schools for grades seven and eight.

Under most of the proposals, the Phoenix, a special education program for middle schoolers that operates at Chesapeake, would be moved elsewhere.

The school board has not scheduled hearings on the proposals, but they probably will be held this spring so that the board can make a decision by April 30, said Thomas Rhoades, chief of program planning.

Board member Thomas Twombly wanted to see the crowding alleviated for next school year, but Mr. Rhoades said there would not be enough time to add staff, materials and perhaps another computer lab.

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