By Nancy Badertscher
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Roswell parents staged a 50-car caravan to Milton High School early Wednesday in hopes of showing a proposed redistricting plan could create a slow, unsafe ride for dozens of area children.
Enlarge photo Hyosub Shin, email@example.com Last month, parents had the chance to look at the North Fulton School Restricting draft map at Alpharetta High School.
"From a safety standpoint and a commuter standpoint, it is just a disaster waiting to happen," parent Heather McKinley said after the group spent 30 minutes in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic, traveling two miles from their subdivision to Milton High. Currently it takes them five to 10 minutes to get from home to Roswell High School.
Roswell residents have been among the most vocal opponents of the Fulton County school board's plan to redraw attendance zones on the county's north side in preparation for the fall 2012 opening of a new $66.8 million high school on Bethany Bend near the Forsyth County line.
The current plan would shift the boundary lines for four high schools -- Roswell, Milton, Alpharetta and Johns Creek -- with Milton set to lose 1,320 students to the new school and Roswell slated to shift 481 students to Milton High.
A final redistricting map is scheduled to be presented to the school board next week.
Residents of the north Fulton neighborhoods of Edenwilde and Summerhill Farms who staged Wednesday's caravan said they will be at the meeting to ask board members to allow students who live in Roswell to attend Roswell High.
Summerhill Farms resident Rob Kremer said east-westbound roads in Milton cannot handle the additional traffic that would be created by transferring 481 students from Roswell. In addition, he said, Roswell students, some of whom would be new and relatively inexperienced drivers, would be traveling a route with multiple left-hand turns that are without traffic signals or left-hand turn lanes.
Edenwilde resident Kim Miller said the redistricting plan threatens the strong community ties that many Roswell residents have with their city and high school. She said she has a daughter in second grade who has already been cheering for the Roswell High Hornets.
"Traffic is always going to be an issue in north Fulton, we know that," said Susan Hale, Fulton schools spokeswoman. “But when you open a new school, you’re not necessarily creating new traffic. You are just changing the pattern.”Hale said school officials realize “there will be some impact. But we think it will be more minor than what parents believe.”
She said the school system also has the ability to adjust the “bell time” for the start of school and would consider that if major traffic jams are created.
The school board is not expected to adopt a final redistricting plan until June. The plan would be effective for the school year that starts August 2012.