COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – Columbia County parents are reacting to a proposed school rezoning plan.

At a board of education presentation last night, it was announced that hundreds of students in the county will be moved to new schools.

“I’m sad,” said Summer Vinson, a South Columbia Elementary School mom. “It’s the best school that we’ve had our kids go to. I couldn’t pick anything better for them, I’m upset about it.”

Vinson has three kids who go to the school, which is being closed at the end of this school year.

“The plumbing, everything that goes on underneath the ground was causing us to spend a lot of money to maintain,” said Penny Jackson, the Associate Superintendent for Columbia County schools. “And South Columbia’s enrollment was, this year even below what we projected so they’re not going upward in numbers, they’ve been declining for the past few years.”

If the plan goes through, Vinson’s kids will be rezoned to Blue Ridge Elementary.

“My second grader is the most upset, she’s got all her friends and that was her first school as well,” she said. “My fourth grader, she’s got her couple best friends and she’s been there for a while. She’s not happy about it. I’ve heard good things about Blue Ridge, I’ve had family members that went there… a new experience.”

All previous Westmont Elementary students, who were moved to other schools when the building was demolished last year, will be going back next year when the new building opens.

The new Westmont will also include some students who have to transfer from Martinez, Evans Brookwood, and Lewiston Elementary schools due to living on the edge of the zones.

“Every zone has an edge, and you don’t think that’s important, but when you start rezoning if you live on the edge of a zone, you’re always in danger of being the one that has to go somewhere else,” Jackson said.

This is upsetting for one parent we spoke to whose child will have to move schools. She and Vinson hope for more communication when the plans are approved. “I’m waiting to hear exactly what’s gonna happen, I don’t know. A letter or something, anything kind of,” Vinson said.

The school board hopes to get final approval for the plan at its Nov. 14 meeting.

The next meetings will be on:

  • Tuesday, November 7, 2023 – 6:00 p.m. at Martinez Elementary, located at 213 Flowing Wells Rd., Martinez, GA. 30907
  • Thursday, November 9, 2023 – 6:00 p.m. at North Columbia Elementary, located at 2784 Ray Owens Rd., Appling, GA 30802
  • Tuesday, November 14, 2023 – 5:30 p.m., at the Columbia County Board of Education, located at 4781 Hereford Farm Rd., Evans, GA. 30809, during the Regular Session meeting of the Board of Education.