Effingham County School Board holds public meeting on redistricting

EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Parents in Effingham County might be sending their children to a new homeroom in a school completely across town.

Massive growth in the county is causing the school system to redistrict. The board held a public meeting Thursday night to discuss the matter.

Parents had nothing but good things to say about the Effingham School System. That's why they're upset that change is on the way. The board says they wish redistricting wasn't needed, but more people want to be a part of the school system so they have to make room.

"I want to sell my home because I don't want to move my kids from South Effingham," said parent, Bud Smith. "I chose South Effingham for a reason and that's where I want my kids to stay."

Bud Smith moved to the area last January and bought a house near the school specifically for his little girl's education.

"I looked at every school district we have. I looked in every neighborhood that we could find. I decided to purchase my home based on where I wanted my kids to go to school," Smith said.

The school board says this is the last thing they want to do, but Effingham is growing, and quickly.

"If we weren't growing, we wouldn't have to do that, but we are growing," said Superintendent, Randy Shearouse.

Some parents will have to battle the changes alone.

"I'm a single parent. I have a kid in high school and I have a kid that will probably be going to Ebenezer," another parent said.

One parent has a child who has gone to four schools in three years and says another transition will be heartwrenching.

Effingham Schools says this is a place where learning lives. They say the thought of having to sit at a new table at a new school and make friends is terrifying.

"I want to stay because I have a lot of friends here," said Lakin Smith, 2nd Grader. "I just don't want to leave the school because it's fun, and I have a lot of friends here."

The good news is families affected by the redistricting will have first choice of their preferred school. However, if they choose a school that is out of their new district, their kids will not be guaranteed bus transportation. The board says they will look into certain exhausting circumstances, but can't promise anything. They have to be fair.

"You know, if I allow your child to do it, then it opens it up for everyone else," Shearouse said.

The board says redistricting is coming no matter what, but they are confident the transition will not be as bad as parents expect.

The redistricting is only for Effingham Elementary and Middle schools. High schools will remain the same.

For more information on where your child might go to school, click here.

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