News Ticker

School Board discusses rezoning

The Wilson County School Board gathered Thursday to discuss what to do with overcrowding at two elementary schools.
West Elementary and Gladeville are both over capacity, with West being at 109 percent capacity and GES at 103 percent.
When the issue was last discussed, the idea of moving students on Benders Ferry Road to Stoner Creek Elementary was brought forward. The reason being that SCE’s new building will be able to house 1,000 students, well above their current enrollment. However, Supervisor of Attendance Stan Moss said he had heard people’s concerns about that move.
“The feedback I received from the folks that I talked to is they didn’t really want to see their kids go passed Elzie Patton,” said Moss.
In addition, SCE students will not be in their new school building at the start of next year, so the extra students would have been added to the SCE portables. They will also have slightly less space to begin next year because the gym and cafeteria SCE is currently using will be closed to finish construction, and those areas will be incorporated into the portable village.
Moss, along with Director of Schools Jeff Luttrell, recommended moving all the kids on Benders Ferry to Elzie D. Patton Elementary. That would be 115 students. That would move West down to 94 percent capacity, but would move Elzie Patton up to 100 percent capacity.
However, no new neighborhoods are planned for the Elzie Patton zone, so no extra students are expected. West has several projects in the works that will increase their capacity. Also, some rising fifth graders could be given the option to stay at West, along with their siblings, which could keep it under 100 percent. Elzie Patton does also have space for portables if they are needed. West does not.
Gladeville has added three portables to help deal with the overcrowding, but they are continuing to grow.
The first option recommended was to move all of Beckwith Road from I-40 to Central Pike to Rutland Elementary.
Moss said many parents had petitioned for that move in the past because it was much closer for them. If you did that, it would bring GES down to 91 percent capacity and Rutland up to 93 percent capacity.
The second option was to take all of the Beckwith area except Walton’s Grove. That would move GES to 97 percent and push Rutland up to 89 percent.
The school board had discussed with Moss the idea of moving the Nichols Vale subdivision to W.A. Wright Elementary, but Moss said he didn’t think that made sense at this time. He said W.A. Wright is slated for more growth at this time than MJE is. He said it would be something to look into in the future. Currently, both have room to handle growth.
The School Board has been looking into building on two properties that will help with the overcrowding at both West and GES. One is north off Highway 109 on Double Log Cabin Road, and the other is on Central Pike near Highway 109. Moss said those schools are a necessity if the school system wants to keep up with growth.
“If we can’t get two elementary schools up and out of the ground in two years, we are going to be really hurting,” said Moss.
No votes were taken on what options to take. Moss suggested that the School Board members discuss the items with their constituents first and hold a vote at the next school board meeting Monday, May 2.