Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Changing Attendance Boundaries Upsets Some Parents

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Changing Attendance Boundaries Upsets Some Parents

Article excerpt

Byline: BETH REESE CRAVEY

Despite the growth slowdown in Clay County, some schools remain overcrowded, prompting the School Board to consider redrawing attendance boundaries to balance enrollment.

But parents of some of the children who would be shifted from one school to another are angry about what they see as unfair disruption of their lives. And they told board members so at their Tuesday meeting.

"They are not just numbers, they are kids," said parent Jennifer Reeves. "They want to stay with their friends, they want to stay with their teachers."

On Thursday, Dec. 17, the board will vote on three redistricting plans, or redrawing of attendance boundaries. If approved, the changes would apply for the 2010-11 school year.

One of the proposals would shift as many as 130 students from overcrowded Thunderbolt Elementary to Paterson Elementary, both on Fleming Island.

Another proposal, part of a multi-school plan to accommodate the 2010 opening of OakLeaf High, would among other things move 230 students from overcrowded Middleburg High to Clay High.

Most of the Thunderbolt students to be moved live in Magnolia Point Golf and Country Club in Green Cove Springs.

Reeves and other Magnolia Point parents said the district has repeatedly targeted their community for redistricting over the years.

Fran Jackson suggested students at the Lighthouse Apartment complex on Fleming Island be moved to Paterson instead. "They don't have roots," she said.

Meanwhile,Middleburg parents object to the move to Clay High because of Clay's D grade for 2008-09, longer bus rides and getting their kids to extracurricular events at a school farther from their homes.

"This is about my child's future, my child's education," said Darcy Denman. "It is not right ... It is very disheartening."

Danny Cowart said the board was "picking on Middleburg because it's a rural area."

With both the Thunderbolt and Middleburg plans, board members said they found the staff-recommended proposals the most workable of all the options. …

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