Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Parents' Activism Succeeds Lines Altered; School Won't Split Neighbors

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Parents' Activism Succeeds Lines Altered; School Won't Split Neighbors

Article excerpt

Chimney Lakes residents got 300 signatures on a petition. They

bombarded Duval County school officials with calls. And several

hundred turned out at a meeting last month to express concern

over proposed attendance zones drawn up for a new elementary

school on Old Middleburg Road.

It worked.

On Tuesday, the School Board approved revised boundary lines

that would allow students in all Chimney Lakes subdivisions to

remain at Chimney Lakes Elementary School.

"We listened to the input from the community," said Ed

Wechsler, the district's pupil assignment director.

"It's good to know that people are listening and taking the

concerns of the community into consideration," said Jeannie

Smith, a Chimney Lakes resident.

Under the boundary lines first proposed, children in Moss

Pointe and Sugar Tree, two of the 22 Chimney Lakes subdivisions,

would have gone to the new school.

That left many of those residents feeling they were being

annexed out of the community,

Under the revised lines, their children will be allowed to

remain with their friends at Chimney Lakes Elementary.

But the redrawing of the attendance zone will have an impact on

Chimney Lakes' enrollment, Wechsler said. It means that Chimney

Lakes, one of Jacksonville's most crowded schools, will lose

only 300 students, instead of 500.

Still, the change will allow the school to abandon the modified

calendar it has been operating under for five years.

Chimney Lakes was built in 1990 for 1,200 students and is 340

students over its capacity. In 1993, it went on a

non-traditional calendar with students rotating into the

building yearround on five schedules.

Principal Verna Fields said the revised lines have met the

community's concerns, and the school district has done a good

job of listening to parents. …

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