MOULTRIE -- In an unprecedented move Monday night, the school board shifted district lines to fortify Doerun Elementary School's shrinking population and to alleviate overcrowding at Okapilco Elementary.
Doerun Elementary's student body has been decreasing for nearly a decade. Enrollment is now 194, Principal Chuck Jones said. Meanwhile, Okapilco has almost 400 students and has overflow filling eight portable units, Superintendent Leonard McCoy told the board. Renovations are on the horizon at Okapilco, but plans are to build only eight classrooms, which would bring the school back in line with its population but wouldn't allow any room for growth.
Until now, the lines of school board districts coincide with county districts. The move might change which precinct some voters will have to use.
The new lines of Doerun's district, which reach south almost to the city limits of Moultrie, could bring more than 120 students who would have gone to Okapilco. The new district picks up a heavily populated area around Sylvester Drive.
The school board is offering to phase in the new districts beginning this fall. Transportation to and from school is already worked out, and the Doerun faculty is ready for the influx. Assistant Superintendent Mickey Key estimated that students in the southernmost part of the new Doerun district would add 12 to 15 minutes travel time to attend school.
Any student presently enrolled at Okapilco School may continue to attend there until completion of the fifth grade unless that student should move from the affected area and return at a later date. The siblings of any student who is presently enrolled at Okapilco may continue to attend there until fifth grade completion unless that student should move from the affected area and return at a later date. Any student moving into the affected area being rezoned after the first day of school year 2005-2006 shall attend Doerun Elementary. Any exceptions must be approved by the school board.
McCoy and school board members expressed the rezoning is a better use of taxpayers money. Doerun, distinguished by the State of Georgia for academic achievement, is the most costly school to operate, because it has the smallest population.