Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

St. Johns Juggles Students; School Board Approves Zoning Changes Affecting about 260 Children over Parental Objections

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

St. Johns Juggles Students; School Board Approves Zoning Changes Affecting about 260 Children over Parental Objections

Article excerpt

Byline: SHAWNA SUNDIN, The Times-Union

ST. AUGUSTINE -- About 260 students will be affected by zoning changes the St. Johns County School Board approved Thursday night despite objections from several parents.

The zoning changes were proposed to help relieve school crowding and address growth. About 200 students in the southern part of the county and about 60 children in the northwest will be affected.

"We are making a decision that will not be making everyone happy," School Board member Tommy Allen said to the roughly 100 people who attended the two-hour hearing. "We know that and we understand that."

Children who live in Gate 1 of the St. Augustine South subdivision who now attend Hartley Elementary and Gamble Rogers Middle schools will in the fall instead attend Osceola Elementary and Murray Middle schools.

Jo Sage, who lives in Gate 1 of St. Augustine South, said making students attend several schools in a short time because of rezoning is inviting academic failure.

"Our schools are not warehouses and our children are not merchandise to be moved from one warehouse to another for the sake of convenience," Sage said.

But some exceptions will be permitted, including allowing students to finish their last year at their current schools. School system officials will consider hardship cases in the summer, Superintendent Joseph Joyner said.

Elementary school zoning also will change in the southern part of the county when a new school opens there in fall 2005. All students now attending Hastings Elementary will attend the new school along with students in the Moses Creek subdivision south to the St. Johns-Flagler County line, children who live south of Gamble Rogers Middle and east of U.S. 1 to the county line and east to the Intracoastal Waterway including both sides of County Road 206 east of U.S. 1.

The changes will relieve crowding at Hartley Elementary which has about 700 students compared with about 300 at Hastings Elementary and about 600 each at Osceola and Otis Mason Elementary schools. …

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