Milton Petition to FCSS Board Regarding Redistricting

            As Petitioners, we respectfully request that the Board create a Milton High School attendance zone that: 1) retains the neighborhoods along Birmingham Highway and Freemanville Road including the northwest section of Fulton County; and 2) is consistent with the City of Milton Transportation Master Plan, the Lew Oliver Plan for Crabapple, the Safe Routes to School Grant of $500,000 and the federal, state, local and other grant monies that have and will be spent in furtherance of the existing transportation framework, particularly as additional traffic is routed through the already heavily congested Crabapple Five Points intersection.  

            This petition is submitted in support of our ("Petitioners") request that the Fulton County School System Board Members ("Board") reconsider the proposed Round 3 High School Redistricting Plan ("Final Plan") and create a Milton High School attendance zone that: 1) retains the neighborhoods along Birmingham Highway and Freemanville Road including the northwest section of Fulton County; and 2) is consistent with the City of Milton Transportation Master Plan, the Lew Oliver Plan for Crabapple, the Safe Routes to School Grant of $500,000 and the federal, state, local and other grant monies that have and will be spent in furtherance of the existing transportation framework, particularly as additional traffic is routed through the already heavily congested Crabapple Road / Birmingham Highway / Mid-Broadwell Road ("Crabapple Five Points") intersection.  The Petitioners objections to the Final Plan are based upon some or all of the following:


            I.   The Final Plan is inconsistent with the City of Milton Transportation Master Plan, inconsistent with the Lew Oliver Plan for Crabapple, inconsistent with the Safe Routes to School Grant of $500,000, inconsistent with current traffic patterns, inconsistent with the Round 3 Middle School Redistricting Plan and unsafe for student drivers and pedestrians. 

            North Fulton and, in particular, the City of Milton is organized along main state and local roads that were built to accommodate the traffic patterns from North Milton to South Milton (i.e., Arnold Mill Road, Birmingham Highway, Freemanville Road, Bethany Road and Hopewell Road), not west to east patterns.  In fact, the City of Milton Transportation Master Plan ("Transportation Master Plan") focuses on this north to south traffic concept and the City has obtained and invested federal monies, state monies, local monies and grant monies to support this comprehensive vision for the City of Milton.  In disregard of this transportation framework, the FCSS has chosen a Final Plan that has a west to east pattern for high school traffic.  This orientation is not only inconsistent with the Transportation Master Plan, but also the FCSS's very own Round 3 Middle School Redistricting Plan, which also has a north to south orientation.  In other words, a north to south orientation for middle schools and a west to east orientation for high schools only complicates the feeder patterns.  In terms of safety, the Final Plan requires parents, students and buses to drive west to east on already congested and mostly one lane back roads with no shoulder, no guardrails, lined with trees close to the road and littered with 4 way stops that congest traffic and lengthen travel times.  For example, under the Final Plan, students on Birmingham Highway will have to travel up to 10 miles away on less safe back roads to get to the new Bethany Bend High School, rather than the current 3 miles away on a highway to get to Milton High School.  Given this plethora of inconsistencies which are likely to create serious traffic problems and safety concerns, the Final Plan is untenable from a transportation and traffic perspective, particularly along the Birmingham Highway and Freemanville Road corridor.      


            It is also important to note that as part of the Transportation Master Plan, significant planning and money has been obtained and spent to complete the Lew Oliver Plan for Crabapple ("Oliver Plan").  The Oliver Plan focuses on a pedestrian friendly Crabapple area as evidenced by the homes and businesses built close to the streets, the sidewalks and the lack of storefront parking.  Also, with the assistance and cooperation of the City of Milton, the schools of Crabapple Crossing Elementary, Summit Hill Elementary and Northwestern Middle School received the "Safe Routes to School" grant of $500,000 that was based on the fact that these are pedestrian areas, which allow students to walk to and from school with less automobile traffic.  The goal of both the Oliver Plan and the Safe Routes to School grant is to create a community that is pedestrian and eco-friendly.  However, if this Final Plan is passed and scores of parents, students and buses are forced to travel from as far as the intersection of Highway 9 and Mansell Road and up through the Crabapple Five Points intersection, the traffic problems will be monumental and students walking to school will have to navigate a more heavily congested traffic pattern and possibly be put in harms way. 


            From both a logical and practical standpoint, the Final Plan is problematic and, at bottom, the City of Milton should not be required to fundamentally alter its Transportation Master Plan, the Lew Oliver Plan for Crabapple, disregard the Safe Routes to School grant requirements and complicate the federal, state, local and other grant monies it is receiving to cater to this redistricting Final Plan, which is wrong on so many fronts. 


            II.   The Final Plan does not adequately address the long-term growth that is projected for North Fulton.

            Based upon the FCSS's own power point presentation outlining future growth, the majority of projected growth is in the northernmost part of Fulton County.  Under the Final Plan, ALL of these newly constructed neighborhoods will attend the new Bethany Bend High School and this is inconsistent with the City of Milton's community concept. The logical solution is to use a north south boundary between Milton High School and the new Bethany Bend High School.  This type of plan will allow both high schools to share the projected growth and to promote the City of Milton's community concept.  Moreover, residents will be less likely to undergo another high school redistricting in this area. 


            There are also valid concerns that the Final Plan will damage Milton High School's high academic achievements.  The Milton area, which is far more developed, will be virtually landlocked and its census numbers kept low because of the lack of projected growth.  Since a school's increased census numbers allow it to "earn" more teachers, low census numbers will, in turn, make it difficult for Milton High School to grow and "earn" additional and/or full-time teachers to teach more and varied AP courses, drama, band and orchestra.  

           

            III.   The Final Plan ignores the longstanding commitment of time, money and effort of the neighborhoods along Birmingham Highway and Freemanville Road that have been instrumental in making Milton High School a top performing school.  

            While many of the neighborhoods in the North Fulton area have contributed to the success of Milton High School, the main corridors of Birmingham Highway and Freemanville Road, both of which border the Milton High School property, appear to be the most appropriate areas to keep within the Milton High School attendance zone.  Importantly, these neighborhoods by and large OPPOSE the move to Bethany Bend High School because of concerns about:  losing their investment in Milton through parent involvement; losing the high academic standards that are well established at Milton; having children from the same family attending different high schools; new FCSS rules limiting funding/debt for booster clubs (i.e., FCSS is currently requiring high school booster clubs to put down 80% in cash toward capital improvements); and increased traffic and safety concerns.  Given these facts, it is in the FCSS's best interest to maintain neighborhoods that make up the core of Milton High School and not remove them from the school's attendance zone. 


            IV.   The Final Plan is purportedly drawn to accommodate a new middle school on Freemanville Road that was heavily opposed by local residents, may no longer be needed due to slowed construction after the site was purchased, is not funded as a construction item under SPLOST III and may not be included or supported under SPLOST IV.

            It has been suggested that the Final Plan was chosen to accommodate the middle school that is "planned" to be built on Freemanville Road.  This reasoning is too speculative to drive a decision of this magnitude.  Importantly, the FCSS's purchase of the Freemanville Road property was heavily opposed by the surrounding neighborhoods.  The FCSS previous growth projections during the property purchase have severely changed due to the economic downturn and facts suggest that this location may not be the area of greatest need for a new middle school in North Fulton.  There is no current funding for this middle school under SPLOST III.  In today's economic downturn, it is unclear whether this middle school will be included in SPLOST IV and, if so, whether it would ever pass a vote.  Speculation is acceptable in certain industries.  However, speculation should not be used when determining education and safety within a community.  As such, the potential construction of this middle school should hardly be the driving force that dictates the boundaries of this controversial Final Plan.


            Therefore, as this Board considers the Final Plan, which was produced by the FCSS Central Administration, the Petitioners respectfully request that the Board create a Milton High School attendance zone that: 1) retains the neighborhoods along Birmingham Highway and Freemanville Road including the northwest section of Fulton County; and 2) is consistent with the City of Milton Transportation Master Plan, the Lew Oliver Plan for Crabapple, the Safe Routes to School Grant of $500,000 and the federal, state, local and other grant monies that have and will be spent in furtherance of the existing transportation framework, particularly as additional traffic is routed through the already heavily congested Crabapple Five Points intersection.  We appreciate your time and attention to this important matter.

Sign Petition
Sign Petition
You have JavaScript disabled. Without it, our site might not function properly.

See our privacy policy.

By signing, you accept Care2's terms of service and agree to receive communications about our campaigns through email and other methods. You can unsub at any time here.

Having problems signing this? Let us know.