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Houston County's school superintendent is telling parents their voices have been heard: The district is canceling plans to combine three elementary schools.

In a letter sent to parents Thursday, Robin Hines wrote that most people at a hearing this week opposed rezoning the Lindsey, Parkwood, and Westside elementary schools.

Each school currently holds pre-K through grade 5. The plan would have divided the schools by grade level, instead of geographic zones.

Parkwood parent, Chris Taggart, said he reacted to the news with "a little bit of shock and disbelief."

His two second grade boys will stay at Parkwood elementary, just down the street from his family business, through the fifth grade.

His wife Kelly Taggart said, "I thought this was a done deal already. I'm very thankful they took our consideration into thought and left it alone."

The Taggarts attended Wednesday's parent meeting, where the board asked for input on sending Pre-K through first grades to Parkwood, second and third grades to Westside, and fourth and fifth grades to Lindsey.

The board said the focused learning groups could improve student achievement.

Kelly Taggart said, "That would've made ours move two times. I think a lot of kids in that school, the only stability they have is at the school."

HInes said about the decision, "We listened, our board listened."

Superintendent Robin Hines said parents listed transportation and after school care as the main problems.

Hines said, "Those are great parents, with great school communities, that work really hard, and we just didn't want to put an undue hardship on those families."

He says they'll go about tackling lagging academic achievement in those schools with another approach, such as bringing teachers of the same grade levels together for professional learning, as opposed to students.

Hines said, "We can focus our professional learning for a smaller area, more specific areas, than say Pre-K through fifth."

He says a January 14th forum on the plan is canceled.

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