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Schools release revised redistricting maps

SUWANEE -- Gwinnett County Public Schools' Planning Department has updated four of the five maps reflecting proposed boundary lines for six new schools opening in August.

The updated maps, released Tuesday, reflect changes made after the Planning Department reviewed written input on the proposed attendance zones. The input forms were due Nov. 4, but the community will have another opportunity to comment on the maps at a public hearing Thursday evening.

The maps show the proposed boundary lines for six new schools -- Burnette Elementary in the Peachtree Ridge cluster, Ferguson Elementary in the Meadowcreek cluster, Jenkins Elementary in the Central Gwinnett cluster, Roberts Elementary in the North Gwinnett cluster, Snell Elementary in the Shiloh cluster and Midway Middle in the South Gwinnett cluster.

About 9,000 students at 29 existing schools will be affected by the changes. The attendance zones for two of the new schools -- Ferguson and Snell elementary schools -- will affect neighboring clusters.

When redrawing lines for a school attendance zone, school system officials say they seek to balance enrollment at the schools with the least disruption to communities.

Snellville resident Gary Magee said he was glad to see the updated maps reflect a change suggested by residents in his neighborhood.

"We offered them solutions," Magee said, "... and it paid off."

Magee, who addressed the Gwinnett County Board of Education last week about redistricting, also plans to attend Thursday's public hearing at the Instructional Support Center.

Magee, who has children at Magill Elementary and Snellville Middle, said the original proposal redistricted his neighborhood from Magill Elementary to Britt Elementary. The updated map will allow the neighborhood to remain in Magill's attendance zone.

Area residents worked together for more than a month to submit a recommended plan to the school system, Magee said.

"We want to let them know they made a good decision," he said.

Magee said he thinks it's critical for the school system to solicit input from parents when developing school boundary lines.

"The community involvement is something they can't measure," he said. "Those schools that have the parent involvement and the community involvement seem to always do better."

While Magee is happy the updated proposal will keep his family at Magill, he's also looking forward to being a part of the new Midway Middle School's attendance zone.

"I think it's going to be great," he said. "I think we'll have the opportunity to build (the school) from the ground up."

The Planning Department will consider input gathered at the public hearing before submitting final recommendations on school boundary lines to the school board. The board is scheduled to vote on the attendance zones in December.

The public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Instructional Support Center at 437 Old Peachtree Road N.W. in Suwanee.

Speakers will be called based on the order in which they sign up that evening. Each speaker will be limited to three minutes, so large groups are encouraged to designate a spokesperson to deliver their input.

Detailed maps are available online at www.gwinnettdailypost.com and www.gwinnett.

k12.ga.us. More information about the public hearing is also available on the school system's Web site.