Just as seventh high school to open, school officials point to crowding at two middle schools for 2023-24 school year
Alamance-Burlington superintendent Dr. Dain Butler warned school board members this week that enrollments at two ABSS middle schools are projected to be over capacity in 2023-24 as a result of the “Redistricting Plan D” school board members approved late last year.
“When you guys approved Plan D, we discussed that there are couple of schools, a couple zones, are going to be over capacity,” Butler recalled during the school board’s latest work session Tuesday afternoon. “I’m informing the board right now to be mindful of that as we approach student transfers.”
Earlier in the meeting Tuesday afternoon, school board chairman Sandy Ellington-Graves told her fellow school board members that 127 appeals have been filed so far.
All ABSS students who will be reassigned to new attendance zones in 2023-24 were notified of the changes when report cards were sent out earlier this year, school system officials said at the time.
Students and their parents were subsequently given a 10-day window in which to file a request to be reassigned to a different school (i.e., a “transfer” request).
Greg Holland, director of school administration for ABSS, has reviewed those requests and notified the applicants of whether the request for reassignment was denied; and students/parents were given five days in which to appeal the decision to the school board, under a revised student assignment policy that school board members unanimously approved in December.
Southern and Woodlawn will be bursting at the seams
As a result of the “rezoning,” Southern Middle School is projected to gain approximately 240 students in 2023-24, and Woodlawn Middle is projected to gain a little over 100 students, Butler said Tuesday afternoon (see accompanying chart for projected enrollments at the seven ABSS middle schools in 2023-24).
“We are going to be bursting at the seams at Southern Middle and Woodlawn,” Butler warned the board. He added that enrollment at Hawfields (projected at 754 students) will be at 82 percent of its capacity next school year.
“I’m just saying, this is where we landed; with Southern and Woodlawn, they are very over capacity,” Butler said Tuesday afternoon. “It’s not just Southern and Woodlawn. Turrentine is [at] 88 percent capacity; Hawfields is at 82 percent, so I’m concerned already. Don’t be surprised, as we continue to grow, [that] this conversation about our facilities needing to expand is going to come back up.”
The projected capacity and enrollment figures that the school system’s administration developed last fall, which are posted on the ABSS website, are still accurate now, Butler confirmed Tuesday in response to a question from school board member Dan Ingle.
“I intend to carry this in when we go through [the] appeals because those schools are full,” Ingle said Tuesday.
The revised student assignment policy that the board voted 7-0 to approve in December 2022 provides limited exceptions for transfer requests that are denied by the school system’s administration.
For example, transfers will continue to be allowed for children of ABSS employees, as a perk of their employment; transfers also will be allowed for homeless students and/or those deemed to be at risk if they remain at their assigned schools.
In the meantime, Butler told the board Tuesday that it’s likely some mobile units will be installed at Southern and Woodlawn Middle schools in advance of the upcoming school year.