Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Palencia Residents, School District Discuss Future School Site Options; Neighborhood Group Wanted to Clarify Its Plans

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Palencia Residents, School District Discuss Future School Site Options; Neighborhood Group Wanted to Clarify Its Plans

Article excerpt

Byline: lisa miller

The official voice of Palencia's school subcommittee stepped forward Tuesday and met with St. Johns County School District officials to demolish rumors and better explain the need of the maturing neighborhood.

"We're just a group of concerned parents who want to ensure we help the issues of the growing population in St. Johns County rather than become part of the problem," said Curtis Hazel, committee member.

The U.S. 1 north development has plans to turn over a discounted 8-acre parcel to the district in August for the purpose of housing either an elementary or middle school, depending on need.

But concern among Palencia parents has increased recently as rumors swirled that the neighborhood wouldn't have enough students to ever build a school, that some residents wanted a "Palencia only" school, and that others demanded a facility as soon as next year.

The subcommittee lobbied the district for Tuesday's meeting to "clear the air," Hazel said, and to properly convey what's really going on among the residents.

"We realize we don't have enough kids to generate a school sooner than three to five years down the road," he said. "We just don't want to turn into the same problems at Timberlin Creek . . . We want to show that there is the possibility for the community to work with the district for a common goal."

Timberlin Creek Elementary was the latest debacle of 2005 for the district. The 700-student elementary school opened at the beginning of August but has more than 900 students today thanks to hundreds of unexpected homes popping up along County Road 210.

The situation led to months filled with accusations of poor planning, orders of extra portable classrooms and a discussion among School Board members and parents about the possibility of rezoning.

The district has since chosen to postpone any rezoning plans for one year. …

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