TAMPA (WFLA) — There is growing opposition in South Tampa to plan to redraw attendance boundaries public schools in Hillsborough County.
Hillsborough County Public School leaders are considering rezoning plans that could close a number of campuses and force up to 24,000 students to change schools.
Guilherme Barati, Maria Landaeta and Emma Rogier said they moved to South Tampa with their children’s education in mind.
“We did our homework when we bought out house,” Barati said.
“That was kind of the reason we bought the property here,” Landaeta added.
“We chose here because of the location, the school district,” Rogier said.
With the changes, their children would have to either move from Plant High School to Jefferson High School or from Coleman Middle School to Pierce Middle School.
“So it’s going from an ‘A’ school to a ‘“’C’ school,’ Barati said.
The parents have signed an online petition and put up yard signs to protest the plan.
According to the parents, two of the three proposals would make Plant High School’s student population less diverse. The parents don’t want their children to attend a school that has a lower rating and fewer extracurricular activities and advanced courses.
The proposals were created by architecture and design firm WXY Studio. When announcing them in December, Hillsborough Superintendent Addison Davis said that each plan would save the district millions of dollars annually.
Davis also said it would solve the imbalance of overcrowded and under-enrolled schools.
“This is the most aggressive plan that’s been put in front of a school board maybe, ever,” the superintendent added.
Two of the three proposals would require Rogier’s older son to leave Plant High School after his sophomore year.
“He has made a lot of friends,” she said. “His academics is excellent he’s always on the principal’s list so we are very concerned about going to Jefferson.”
In the past, rising seniors had been eligible to grandfather at their current school, but the school board decides whether juniors like Landaeta’s daughter can stay at their current school.
“My biggest concern is that my daughter will not be able to graduate and finish the AP classes that she has the opportunity to be at right now at Plant High School,” Landaeta said.
One of the district’s ten rezoning community meetings will take place at Plant next Wednesday evening, and it’s expected to be a packed house.
The school board is scheduled to vote on the proposals next month, and any changes would go into effect for the start of the 2023-24 school year.
Information on the school boundary analysis can be found here.