Alabaster schools set attendance zones for future years

The Alabaster School Board approved a separation agreement with the Shelby County School System during its May 23 meeting. (File)

The Alabaster School Board approved a separation agreement with the Shelby County School System during its May 23 meeting. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Alabaster city school system will finalize its split from the Shelby County School System on July 1, and will enact a gradual plan to send students outside Alabaster city limits to county schools over the next several years.

During its May 24 meeting, the Alabaster Board of Education approved the separation agreement with the county school system, finalizing several months of negotiations between the county system and the upstart Alabaster system.

The agreement laid out a gradual system of transferring students outside Alabaster’s city limits to Shelby County schools closest to their homes over the next several years.

The Alabaster School Board previously announced all students currently attending Alabaster schools will continue to do so through the 2013-2014 school year. But beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, kindergarten and sixth-grade students living outside the city limits will be transferred to their respective county schools, said Alabaster School Board President Adam Moseley.

In the 2015-2016 school year, the transfers will affect kindergarten, first, sixth and seventh grades. In the 2016-2017 school year, the transfers will expand to kindergarten, first, second, sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

The 2017-2018 school year will see the list expand to kindergarten-third and sixth-ninth grades. The 2018-2019 year will expand to kindergarten-fourth and sixth-10th grade, and the 2019-2020 year will include kindergarten-11th grades.

After 2020, only students in Alabaster’s city limits will attend Alabaster schools.

“If you are entering sixth grade next year and you live outside the city, you will be able to go all the way through in Alabaster schools,” Moseley said. “It’s a fair agreement, I think, for everyone.”

Through the agreement, students entering ninth-grade next year who are enrolled in the Shelby County School of Technology in Columbiana will be able to graduate from the School of Technology. Rising seniors enrolled in the county’s Career Academy Program will be able to continue with the program for the 2013-2014.

Alabaster will continue to work with the county’s Linda Nolen Learning Center in Pelham to serve certain students with significant disabilities through the 2019-2020 school year, Moseley said.

An item not resolved in the agreement included ownership of the Shelby County Instructional Service Center on U.S. 31 in Alabaster. The Alabaster and Shelby County school boards have expressed interest in retaining the SCISC after the split is finalized, and will now send the matter to state School Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice for his determination.