Robbie Hooker

Superintendent Robbie Hooker made Social Circle the first local school district to announce a long-term closing related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — Changes are coming to Zone 5, but Social Circle City Schools superintendent Robbie Hooker assured parents children there would continue to enjoy access to the city school system in the year to come.

Zone 5, a portion of Walton County which formally lies within the Walton County School District but sends students to Social Circle schools, has existed since the 1960s when a judicial consent order created the area as part of a desegregation lawsuit against the local schools.

For decades, all students within the area, which covers Jersey and unincorporated county in the southwest portion of Walton, attended Social Circle City Schools rather than schools in the county district, with tax dollars following students to the city school system.

Following the lifting of the judicial order, however, the two school systems negotiated a deal to allow students in Zone 5 to choose which school to attend in a one-time option. This arrangement was set to last through 2021.

Hooker said the deal, with minor alterations, would be extended once the two systems agreed to final terms.

“Before the pandemic came along, we were hoping to approve this by June,” Hooker said. “Instead, we look to sign this agreement by January 2021.”

The school systems must finish any agreement by the end of June next year to continue the current deal.

“We have a few final revisions to make, but we’re excited to continue this agreement,” Hooker said.

The new deal will extend the Zone 5 conditions for another five years with one significant change: students who elect to attend one school system over another or no longer bound to that decision permanently, but may opt out and change their minds upon completion of fifth grade and again at the completion of the eighth grade.

Currently 488 children in Zone 5 attend Social Circle City Schools.

News Editor

Stephen Milligan is the news editor of The Walton Tribune. He lives in Monroe and is a graduate of the University of Georgia.

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