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School districts drawn
Board approves 3 new clusters

SUWANEE - The attendance boundaries for 15 new schools opening in the next few years have been finalized.

The Gwinnett Board of Education unanimously agreed Thursday evening to approve the district's proposal, which contained one minor changed announced earlier in the day. Children who live in the Emerald Lake subdivision in Sugar Hill will attend White Oak Elementary when it opens in 2009.

About 21 elementary school students live in the subdivision, said Associate Superintendent Bobby Crowson. He said the change was possible because the school system's Planning Department previously decided to keep the Twin Creeks neighborhood in Riverside Elementary's district.

"We really believe the White Oak area is going to boom with development," Crowson said. "But with the slowdown (in the housing market), we don't know it's going to happen."

Marla King, a resident of Emerald Lake, spoke to the board during the public forum that immediately precedes each business meeting. She said she was excited to hear about the new proposal and was eager to get home and tell her neighbors about the decision.

While the Planning Department made several changes to their proposed maps since they were originally released in October, not every request was able to be met.

Board Vice Chairwoman Carole Boyce asked Crowson and Planning Director Greg Stanfield if there was any way the Wisteria Place subdivision could remain in the Grayson cluster instead of being moved into Archer.

"In good conscience, we cannot recommend that to the board," Crowson said. "We would be remiss in our job if we didn't tell you we feel it would jeopardize the Grayson environment. We looked at it every which way we could look at this."

About 150 students live in the Wisteria Place neighborhood, and the change was necessary to create a balance in enrollment between Grayson and Archer, Stanfield said.

Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks said it is necessary to relieve Grayson, which is one of the most overcrowded high schools in the county. Making that change would mean having empty classrooms in one location and trailers in another.

The purpose of redistricting is to get as many students as possible into brick-and-mortar classrooms, Crowson said.