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Public input needed on school realignment
22RU Screen shot 2015 06 03 at 10.43.32 AM

Dawson County School Board officials are studying ways to better serve students that may include moving them to different schools.

Under discussion is a realignment plan to move 6th and 7th grades to Riverview and making Dawson County Middle School 8th and 9th grades. The high school would potentially serve grades 10 - 12.

it is very early in the process and no decisions will be made until public meetings are held, Dawson County School Superintendent Damon Gibbs said. We want input from the community.

Changes to the school system will not be made until the 2016-17 school year.

Dawson County has a spacing dilemma with the high school being full, and middle schools being half empty, Gibbs said.

The new performing arts center will help with the high school spacing since well have four classrooms added, he said Well move band, chorus, drama, and art to the new center.

Also at issue, according to Gibbs, is challenging 8th graders.

There are schools out there that offer high school classes to 8th graders, he said. Dawson County doesnt do that, and were looking at our options. We have a committee looking at different options with the goal of better serving our students.

Technically called a realignment, the committee and school board are looking at trends in student growth.

We looked back 10 years, and even during the growth boom, we only had a 4 percent increase, Gibbs said. The uncertainly of the future is really tricky because we have space to grow into coming out of a back economy.

Dawson County schools lost a few students this year over last, Gibbs said.

The board is also looking at residential growth on Ga. 400 with a 300-unit apartment complex planned for construction behind a major grocery retailer.

Weve watching that closely, but its very difficult to predict student growth, he said.

Dawson County currently has 3,500 students in eight schools, kindergarten through 12th grade.

We can accommodate about 5,000 students, Gibbs said. Were trying to be proactive. Were in a good position, and we have room to grow.

Gibbs said he expects the board to hold pubic hearings in August or September.