Feb 15, 2024 - Education

Fayetteville schools consider reshuffling

Illustration of a school bus stop sign replaced with a location pin symbol

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Fayetteville Public Schools may soon add a third junior high and rezone for middle schools.

The big picture: The idea is for three middle schools to feed directly into three junior highs — as in, the same kids attend school together through all middle and junior high years — superintendent John Mulford told Axios. Currently, three middle schools feed into two junior highs.

State of play: McNair, on the east side of town, has 757 students, while the other two middle schools have around 425 each. McNair's overpopulation, combined with its location next to Vandergriff Elementary School, makes for heavy traffic on Mission Boulevard.

Details: Proposed plans include:

  • Building a new Woodland Junior High near Joyce Boulevard and Crossover Road.
  • Converting the existing Woodland campus into a middle school.
  • Rebuilding Ramay Junior High at an undetermined location. The fate of the existing Ramay is TBD.
  • Converting Colbert Middle School into a junior high.

The intrigue: The plans would not be complete until 2027 — if the district moves forward with them. Meanwhile, the school district plans to offer an outdoor learning and conservation program at Colbert and a science exploration program at Holt.

  • Students in other zones could apply to participate in those programs, which likely would help alleviate crowding at McNair, Mulford said.

Of note: The district is taking into account socioeconomic demographics when rezoning. At present, the middle school with the lowest rate of students eligible for free or reduced lunches is about 20%, and the highest is 50%.

  • The proposed new boundaries would lessen the gap so that the lowest rate is about 35% and the highest is about 44%, Mulford said.

What's next: The school board expects to make a decision at its Feb. 29 meeting.

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