Rezoning plan shifts 600 Harrison Co students to new school

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A new elementary school in Harrison County is on schedule to open its doors in August. So the district has come up with a rezoning plan that involves shifting hundreds of students from three elementary schools to the new campus. The move will help balance the student population.

Enrollment has been on the rise at Three Rivers Elementary School.

"It's grown a lot. We have about 950 students now and we have some portables in the back of the school, so it's been a lot of influx of the population," said principal Tracy Sellers.

To help ease overcrowding, next school year, some students will be attending the new River Oaks Elementary School. The K-6 grade school is under construction on Three Rivers Road. It will initially house about 620 students.

In August, about 290 students at Three Rivers Elementary School will transfer to the new campus. About 190 students from Bel-Aire Elementary and 144 students from Woolmarket Elementary School will also move to River Oaks. Some students will also shift from one school to another.

Harrison County Superintendent Henry Arledge said the district came up with the new school boundary zones after considering a number of issues.

"We looked at the proximity to the school, the bus routing to the school, the roads to the school, where all the students lived at. We geo-coded every student in the area and we counted students," said Arledge "We try to obviously keep everybody in the same family going to the same school, and if they're in a certain neighborhood you try to keep them in the certain neighborhood."

The district has already sent letters to parents informing them that their child has been zoned to attend River Oaks Elementary. Principals also handed the letters to those children who will be affected by the boundary changes, so they could show the notices to their parents at home.

"Some students were very happy, some were not. Some don't want to leave and I understand. We love it here, but it'll be OK. River Oaks will be a wonderful school too," said Sellers.

"It'll probably be issues with children who don't want to move, or want to move or their friends move, but you can only do so much with this. You have to finally say the rules are rules," said Arledge.

The changes to the school boundaries will not affect junior high and high school attendance zones. The district is now accepting comments and concerns from parents about the rezoning proposal. The school board is expected to adopt the plan at its March 24th meeting.

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