Some thoughts on the new West Chatham high school proposed district lines

Click here if you want to see my clearest post complaining about the remoteness of the location of the new high school in West Chatham County, the upcoming addition to the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System.

Jenel Few has an excellent article in the Savannah Morning News today about the proposed district lines and some residents who were hoping to be in the zone: West Chatham’s new high school may not hold all hopefuls

Click here for a high-res PDF from the public schools’ website. The district is soliciting feedback, by the way.

Here’s an image from that PDF:

Let me describe what you’re seeing. Beginning at the north end of the map, the proposed zone is bounded by the Jimmy DeLoach Parkway until it meets I-95; I-95 is the border until you move south to I-16, and then the border moves east to Dean Forest; go south on Dean Forest until you hit 17/Ogeechee Road and take that west to the county line.

It’s a pretty sensible layout, for the most part, although some of the small residential areas east of Ogeechee Road just north of Little Neck should logically be included — they’re among the closest residences to the school, after all.

What’s deceiving here, and you might need to go to the larger map to appreciate it, is how hard it is to get to the school location on Little Neck south of John Carter Road. There is no direct turn from 95 onto Little Neck Road, and there’s no way to get from Quacco Road without getting onto 16 or Ogeechee. The residential areas closest to the site off Fort Argyle are relatively lightly populated.

There weren’t any numbers in the piece today regarding the makeup of the new student population, but it looks to me like the new school could have a population of at least 70-80% white. For those families that were hoping for a suburban school that reflected the population of West Chatham, these lines will be good news. (They may not be such good news for some private or parochial schools that are finding it harder to attract public school students.)

It’s going to be interesting to see how all these issues play out — the final boundaries, the composition of the student body, the impact on overall SCCPS enrollment, and the significant distances that some students will be traveling (some will have round trip commutes of 15 miles or more).

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