published Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Dalton: Park Creek School future argued

Lizbeth Arreguin, right, and others hold signs in front of Dalton City Hall to protest plans to turn Park Creek Elementary School into a sixth-grade academy in this file photo.
Lizbeth Arreguin, right, and others hold signs in front of Dalton City Hall to protest plans to turn Park Creek Elementary School into a sixth-grade academy in this file photo.
Photo by Angela Lewis.

DALTON, Ga. — Changing Park Creek School to a sixth-grade academy not only would displace more than 700 students at the school, it also would mean rezoning students in other elementary schools.

“Everyone’s lives will be changed — if your children aren’t moved, their friends will be,” Maria Oceguera said at the school board meeting Monday evening. “The children are constantly bounced around like pingpong balls. These children are people, not numbers on a graph.”

The Park Creek proposal emerged last month as the board-favored way to address overcrowding at the middle school. Other suggestions from a committee are keeping all sixth-graders in their current schools and creating a kindergarten through eighth-grade school at City Park School. That school is currently a kindergarten through fifth-grade school.

The academy proposal likely would cost more than $5 million, while keeping sixth-graders in their perspective schools would cost about $3.5 million, officials said.

Even though the board did not vote on the issue in their meeting Monday, hundreds of Park Creek parents and staff crowded into Dalton City Hall, filling every seat and lining the walls. About a dozen parents and students pleaded with the board to take more time in making a decision.

Board Chairman Steve Williams said he did not know what the impact to other elementary schools would be but acknowledged that at least some students would be rezoned. Districts likely would be shifted west and south, he said.

The last major rezoning for Dalton schools was about eight years ago, and some schools have had some rezoning since then.

“No decisions have been made,” Williams told the crowd. “But whatever option we take it is going to involve displacing some students. I wish it didn’t, but it will.”

A committee has been appointed to study the impact of the various proposals and likely will present its findings to the board before the July meeting, board members said. No deadline has been set for a final decision.

Board member Rick Fromm said members could make a decision whether to ask for a special purpose local option sales tax without deciding on a plan because all the options will require capital funding. A SPLOST decision must be made by August.

Another factor is the reported fall in the Hispanic population because of tougher immigration laws that go into affect this year, Williams said.

“Come August, we don’t know who will be left, and there is really no way of knowing until then,” he said.

But Fromm said the overcrowding at the middle school did not give the board the luxury of waiting to see what happens.

“It is only prudent to see what our options are,” he said. “It is a difficult decision. There are pros and cons to each.”

Contact Mariann Martin at 706-980-5824 or mmartin@timesfreepress.com

about Mariann Martin...

Mariann Martin covers healthcare in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. She joined the Times Free Press in February 2011, after covering crime and courts for the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun for two years. Mariann was born in Indiana, but grew up in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Belize. She graduated from Union University in 2005 with degrees in English and history and has master’s degrees in international relations and history from the University of Toronto. While attending Union, ...

3
Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Veritas said...

It sounds like our new "Illegal Alien" law is working, Chattanooga and Hamilton County should expect to see a large increase in the illegal alien community. Adios amigos!!!!!!!!!

June 14, 2011 at 9:21 a.m.
Wilder said...

"Another factor is the reported fall in the Hispanic population because of tougher immigration laws that go into affect this year, Williams said..."

They are going to love it up in Chattanooga. They will be demanding lot's of Mariachi Bands be included in Riverbend next year, or you will be discriminating against them, and they may have to protest against all of the intolerant racist.

After one of their numerous protests in Dalton, the local newspaper ran a photo of one of them holding a sign which read "DALTON WOULD BE NOTHING WITHOUT US". That went over really well with the locals.

Every since the "Carpet Cartel" transformed the town, it has been like living in an episode of the "Twilight Zone".

June 14, 2011 at 12:49 p.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement
400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.