County school system will not change zoning practices for Pelham students

Published 6:02 pm Thursday, July 11, 2013

By KATIE MCDOWELL/Managing Editor 

COLUMBIANA – Shelby County Schools Superintendent Randy Fuller addressed concerns about the system’s zoning policy during the Shelby County Board of Education’s July 11 meeting.

Fuller said Pelham students zoned for Chelsea schools will have to attend Pelham City Schools if the city moves forward with forming its own district.

Fuller said four city school systems are located in Shelby County: Hoover, Vestavia, Leeds and Alabaster.

“In all of those participating cities, the students that live within the city zone lines go to school in those cities,” he said. “The cities educate the students in their city limits.”

Fuller addressed the zone issue after a series of public hearings were held by the city of Pelham to receive feedback from residents about forming its own school system. While much of the feedback has been positive, a faction of Pelham residents whose children are zoned for county schools in Chelsea have strongly opposed the idea, mostly because of the distance to schools located in Pelham.

However, Fuller said the Shelby County School System must be consistent in its practices. He also said allowing students who live in city school zones to attend Shelby County Schools could strain its resources.

“For us to have an open enrollment to allow everyone to come into our schools would cause capacity problems,” he said. “We have to maintain the consistency (throughout) our system.”

Fuller said the county school system has several areas where students in one city are zoned for schools in another city.