Superintendent Mike Howard

St. Clair County Schools Superintendent Mike Howard discusses transfer tuition procedures with Board of Education members during a work session in July 2019 at the Central Office.

Eitor's note: This story has been updated with a quote from Superintendent Mike Howard further explaining which students will be grandfathered into their current schools once the new district lines go into effect. 

ST. CLAIR COUNTY -- The St. Clair County Board of Education recently approved zoning changes for each district within the school system.

Superintendent Mike Howard said the lines for zoning were first drawn 47 years ago.

“Back then, they reflected where everybody lived,” Howard said. “Now that we have new subdivisions, we found that these lines were running right through the middle of houses and subdivisions.”

In the past two months, Howard and the BOE have had two work sessions to make sure the lines represent 2019, the superintendent said.

“We looked at the five internal districts where high schools are (Ashville, Moody, Odenville, Ragland and Springville) and made the zones 2019 friendly,” Howard said.

Even the subdivision where Howard and his family live was divided. In his subdivision, Howard said it was understood to be one school district even though the houses in the back of the subdivision were in another school district.

“We did a waiver to allow students (including my own children) to go where they are really supposed to be going to school,” Howard said. “We want to do it right. If I ask someone else to do this, I am going to do it myself.”

Howard said the new lines will result in a small number of students having to change schools. He said the changes will go into effect next school year, and students in grades six and up will be grandfathered into their current school.

“If a new district line affects a student, then students currently enrolled in the sixth grade or higher will be allowed to complete their education in the school they currently attend," Howard said. "If a student has an older sibling that is currently in sixth grade or higher, then they will be allowed to complete their education in the school they currently attend. 

"All other students currently in fifth grade and below must attend the new zone. A bus will not be provided to transport out-of-zone students.”

Howard said the new maps with new district lines are in the process of being printed.

“Once they are available and finalized, everyone will be able to access them from our school system website,” Howard said.

Reach Gary Hanner at ghanner@thestclairtimes.com.

 

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