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Schools to kick off rezoning

Suffolk Public Schools will soon kick off the rezoning process that will assign students to two new schools currently under construction.

The new Florence Bowser Elementary School on Nansemond Parkway and the new Col. Fred Cherry Middle School on Burbage Drive will open at the beginning of next school year.

The new elementary school will house 1,000 students, and the new middle school will house 800 students.

The current student population of Driver Elementary School will most likely be moved to the new Florence Bowser Elementary School, as well as some students currently attending Creekside Elementary School, which is overcrowded, according to a school division press release.

Driver will be transformed into the Excel Academy at Driver, an academic alternative setting for students in fourth through 10th grades who are as much as two grade levels behind for their age. The program will feature a low student-to-teacher ratio and individualized learning.

The Col. Fred Cherry Middle School is expected to alleviate overcrowding at John Yeates Middle School.

There is no consensus yet on whether any other schools will be affected.

This Thursday, the rezoning criteria will be presented to the School Board at its 4:30 p.m. work session at City Hall, 442 W. Washington St. A public input session will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the same location.

In December, rezoning proposals will be made available to the public on the school division’s website.

On Jan. 11, the second public input session will be held at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

A formal presentation of the rezoning options will take place during the Feb. 8 School Board meeting at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

On March 8, the School Board will vote on the final plan during its 7 p.m. meeting at City Hall.