Hundreds of students in wrong schools - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hundreds of students in wrong schools

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August 11, 2005

Albany- The Dougherty County School system's redistricting policy is putting the right students at the right schools.

"School systems have the right to divide up their system into attendance districts, it makes no sense that everyone could go to whatever school they wanted to because it would be chaotic," said Tommy Coleman, Dougherty Co. School Board Attorney.

Since the first day of school, administrators found hundreds of students enrolled in schools where they shouldn't be.

"It looked like there were 500 people, roughly 500 people that were transferring to another school," said Coleman.

The system forced those students to go to the right school, but they still expect to find more.

"We have seen the numbers go down some at Westover this year," said Westover High Principal Gene Melvin.

"Apparently there were some schools that were favored I guess is fair to say that people wanted to go to and they were beginning to experience a pretty dramatic overcrowding," said Coleman.

Schools like Lake Park, Merry Acres, and Westover, where the first year Gene Melvin was principal the attendance was around 1,087.

"After the flood we were up around 1,200 and once that settled down we moved back to 1,150, 1,100 but we moved up to about 1,350 last year," said Melvin.

"The fiscal facilities you have in a certain school attendance zone matches the number of kids you have there so you won't have to bring in temporary trailers and have overcrowded classrooms," said Coleman.

The result has been complaints from parents on both sides.

"Probably their complaints are that the class sizes were a little larger because the number of kids that we have," said Melvin.

Other say, the crackdown isn't fair and they're just trying to provide the best education they can for their kids.

The school system hopes to have all students where they need to be by the end of August. At the beginning of this school year, all parents had to provide proof their addresses. They also signed a form making them legally responsible if they falsify that address.

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