LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - For the first time in more than a decade, Fayette County Public Schools are considering widespread changes to the attendance zones, and they were asking for the public's input at Thursday night's meeting in Bryan Station High School gym.
The school system is looking at potentially redrawing school attendance boundaries before three new schools are to open in the near future. It could change where thousands of students go to school.
This meeting was the first of two, where the public will have a chance to tell the committee overseeing the rezoning process how they feel. The Fayette County Superintendent says they were inspired by recent budget forums that drew big crowds.
"We really liked the way the process worked, we believe it really engaged the public into the process," said Superintendent Tom Shelton.
Shelton says the zoning changes are necessary because for the last decade the school system has been growing by about 600 to 750 students a year and that growth has led to crowding.
"It's very taxing on the students," said Shelton, "just making their way to class and being comfortable in the hallways."
A 25 person volunteer committee of parents, school employees, and community members has already met three times to look at the issue, but before they begin looking at maps and considering their options, they're holding the public meetings to gather feedback from the community.
Two new elementary schools are opening in 2016, and a new high school is opening in 2017, so school leaders say redoing the attendance map is necessary.
The parents in attendance say their biggest concern is making sure their children go to the schools in their neighborhood.
"Although we live one point one mile from Ashland School," said Dereck Oldham, a concerned parent, "we are bussed all the way to northern elementary which is over nine miles away. "
Oldham says he's tried to talk to administrators about that issue, but hasn't had any luck. He hoped that at Thursday night's meeting he could get his message across.
"We're doing all that we can to take a positive approach and try to come here and get our voice heard," said Oldham.
One idea the school system has said they're considering is allowing students already enrolled in a school they like to stay there.
The committee expects to present their plan to the Fayette County Board of Education in early 2015.
The district has scheduled a second meeting, to give people the chance to offer their input on the matter. That meeting is scheduled for July 10 in the Lafayette High School gym from 6-8 p.m.