90-100 students would be rezoned from one MCSD school to another if plan is approved

Muscogee County Public Education Center
Muscogee County Public Education Center

To rebalance enrollments at two schools, approximately 90-100 students would be rezoned to attend a different school for next school year if the Muscogee County School Board approves the administration’s plan, which is expected to be finalized in time for next month’s board meeting.

The students who would be affected now live in Aaron Cohn Middle School’s attendance zone. They would be placed into Midland Middle School’s attendance zone.

Muscogee County School District central region chief James Wilson presented the preliminary plan during the board’s annual retreat Saturday. Monday, MCSD officials wouldn’t release any more information about the plan.

“As mentioned in the retreat this Saturday, the discussion was preliminary in preparation for the official recommendation to come forth to the Board of Education in March,” MCSD communications director Mercedes Parham said in an email to the Ledger-Enquirer.

So it’s unclear on which streets those 90-100 students reside, but Wilson noted during his presentation to the board Saturday that 90 percent of Aaron Cohn’s students came from Midland’s attendance zone when the school named in memory of the late Muscogee County Juvenile Court judge opened in 2013.

The two schools in northeast Columbus are 5 miles apart.

“All the kids that will go back to Midland, it’s half the distance to Midland as it is to Aaron Cohn,” Wilson said. “So it’s going to help the parents of those students.”

In 2013, Aaron Cohn opened with 480 students, leaving Midland with 410, Wilson said. Now, Aaron Cohn has 680 with capacity for 725, and Midland has 405 with capacity for 875, he said. So the MCSD administration is trying to accommodate the growth at Aaron Cohn and keep Midland reasonably populated for state funding to fully cover its enrollment instead of using local tax dollars to fill the gap.

As MCSD has done with previous rezonings, students entering their last grade in that school, in this case eighth grade at Aaron Cohn, would be allowed to stay there, along with their siblings. Waivers also would be granted for rezoned students to remain in Aaron Cohn’s one autism class, officials said. Public forums would be conducted to explain the changes, Wilson said.

Mark Rice, 706-341-2577, @MarkRiceLE.

Ledger-Enquirer staff writer Mark Rice covers education and other issues related to youth. He also writes feature stories about any compelling topic. He has been reporting in Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley for more than a quarter-century. He welcomes your local news tips and questions.