New schools, overcrowding cause zoning confusion - WSMV News 4

New schools, overcrowding cause zoning confusion

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It’s an unwelcome reality for some local families. The school you live closest to might not be the one your child will attend.

Take Stewartsboro Elementary School in Smyrna for example. It’s just one of several schools in Rutherford County. You would think your kids would go to school there if you lived in a neighborhood less than a mile away. But students who live in a new subdivision nearby are actually zoned David Youree even though it’s farther away.

This was just one example of where the News4 I-Team found this happening.

Audree Saltmarsh can't help but wonder if her neighborhood will be the next to be re-zoned. Last time it happened in Williamson County where she lives was last year.

"Everybody in the neighborhood started thinking 'What private school are you going to send your children?'" said Saltmarsh.

The I-Team found overcrowding is such a problem some homes closer to one school are actually being zoned for another. In some cases, farther away.

One neighborhood in Williamson County, for example, is Stephens Valley. It’s a new subdivision currently under construction.

The closest middle school is Grassland. You would assume that's what it would be zoned, but instead, it's zoned Fairview even though Fairview Middle School is almost 13 miles away from that subdivision.

“There absolutely are people who want their child in a certain school,” said Sher Powers, President of the Greater Nashville Realtors.

She said most families choose a home not based on a nice front porch but rather on the school district its zoned.

"Families can be very disappointed if they're setting their hopes on one school, buying a home and then a year later it could change, or five years later it could change.”

And overcrowding isn't just something happening in Williamson County. The I-Team found it happening in Metro Schools, Wilson, Rutherford and Cheatham counties.

What’s the first sign you could be rezoned? A new school being built in the area.

“We want to get through the next five years hopefully without any rezoning because we don't want to have to think about moving,” said Saltmarsh.

In some school districts you can apply to send your kids to a school you aren't zoned for.

You can also be grandfathered into a school even if a school zone changes.

Lastly, when looking at homes, be sure to always check online to see which school it is zoned.

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