Fayetteville School Board holds middle school rezoning discussion until August

Warren Collier (left) and John L. Colbert announce the mascot for John L. Colbert Middle School. (Fayetteville Public Schools)

The School District has put a hold on its plan to redraw the lines for its middle school zones for at least another school year.

Officials said discussions will resume this summer, but not to expect any changes in attendance zones until August 2024.

The School Board had previously planned to resume discussions about proposed zoning changes at its next meeting on Jan. 26.

An email sent to parents last week outlined a new plan in anticipation of a turnover in leadership once Superintendent John L Colbert retires at the end of the school year.

“The Fayetteville Board of Education and district administration are working through new organizational duties and anticipate additional organizational changes with the naming of the new superintendent of schools late Spring 2023,” according to the email. “All team members would like to engage the community in a robust conversation with the new leadership team.”

A new analysis of data is forthcoming, the email states.

“We thank you for your patience as we move through this transition and growth process,” said Colbert. “We want to be certain we have all available information and input that will allow us to make decisions that will serve our students and families well for several years.”

The upcoming changes are based partly on a shift at Owl Creek, which currently includes grades K-6, to a standard elementary school serving only grades K-4. Fifth and sixth graders in the area will move to the district’s new Colbert Middle School, which is set to open in time for the fall 2023 school year.

Rendering of Colbert Middle School (Fayetteville Public Schools)

Officials have said once Colbert opens, the zones will be unbalanced, meaning students from at least one of Fayetteville’s other two middle schools may need to switch zones.

Recent proposals have called for varying zone updates that would move students from McNair in east Fayetteville to either Colbert or Holt in west Fayetteville.

Officials have said McNair is about 50 students over its stated capacity of 692, and that some students have been taking classes inside a two-room portable building.

The District last week said the current plan is to soon ask the Fayetteville City Council for an extension of its permit that would allow the portable building to stay another year.