Auburn City Schools will host forums on Nov. 6 and 7 to allow the public to hear options for new school zones. The forums will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Auburn High School cafeteria.
The process of rezoning the school boundaries began in April, when the Board of Education hired Cooperative Strategies — a consulting firm that worked with ACS to develop its current facilities plan — to ultimately provide a list of rezoning recommendations.
These recommendations will be presented at the public forums, where the community will be encouraged to offer input. Once options have been considered and finalized, Superintendent Karen DeLano said she hopes to bring a rezoning plan to the school board for a vote in January. The new school boundaries will be in place for the 2018-19 school year, just as a new elementary school is opening and plans are finalized for a new sister school to be paired with Yarbrough Elementary School.
The rezoning plan will consider these new schools, and DeLano has asked the consultants to also consider how school boundaries should fall once a second high school opens. The Facilities Plan 2024 shows a sister school for Yarbrough Elementary opening up in 2021 and a second high school opening in 2022.
The time line for opening new schools is constructed around demographics studies and enrollment projections. While ACS grew by roughly 100 students this year — a slight breather from previous years — DeLano said she believes another jump in student numbers to occur soon.
"I'm trying to be patient and wait on our consultants, but I anticipate another spike soon," she said.
As for the elementary school on Richland Road that will open for the 2018-19 school year, construction is on schedule.
"The bulk of the site work ... is for the most part complete," said Tim Cantey of TCU Consulting Services. Cantey is working with local contracting firm Baily Harris to manage the project. "Progress is moving, we feel like, extremely well."
One of the next steps in the project will be the installation of a sanitary sewer pump station, for which the board approved a services agreement at its meeting this week. The pump will be the city's to maintain, said Cantey.
The new school has yet to be named, but at an event at the Auburn Chamber of Commerce this week, DeLano said the naming committee should be making a recommendation soon.
Another project ACS is working on is updating its Strategic Plan. The school's first plan was approved by the board in 2013 and included six strategies and 38 action plans.
This spring, ACS entered into its third and final phase of the Strategic Plan and is now working with a consultant at Cambrian Group to update its strategies. The final phase of the current plan will conclude in March 2018.