Population Shifts Mean Big Changes for Schools
(AJC) — When Marcia and John Grimsley moved to Johns Creek from Buckhead ten years ago, they identified the schools they wanted their children to attend and built their lives around them. “We wanted our children to grow up in a community where school, athletics, church and [activities such as] Boy Scouts all were in a fairly small area where there was overlap,” Marcia Grimsley said. But while their family put down roots, the population of the region swelled and churned around them, forcing school districts to shift resources and redraw boundaries. And now the Grimsleys, like thousands of families across metro Atlanta, are experiencing one result: school redistricting. “It’s frustrating to make a lot of decisions — job commute, life and church, based on important things like where your kids are going to school, and then have that changed,” said Grimsley, who is waiting to learn whether her children will be attending different schools. The story of the region’s school-age population between 2000 and 2010 is a story of pervasive, dramatic change. Virtually every major school system had patches of rampant growth and others of steep decline. That crazy-quilt pattern means new schools built and old schools closed, administrators struggling to meet the different needs of new populations, teachers grappling with classrooms in a state of flux, and students and families coping with the disruption of long-term life choices.