HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — On Monday, the Hillsborough County School District will begin hosting a series of meetings to discuss new attendance boundaries for area schools.
According to Superintendent Addison Davis, 24% of schools are overcrowded while 44% are under-enrolled.
The district hired an architecture and design firm to review its attendance boundaries and recommend changes that would ensure the student population is distributed appropriately to increase attendance at underutilized schools and relieve crowding.
Three proposals are being considered that would potentially switch 24,000 students to different schools.
On Monday, the first of several meetings is being held to give parents a chance to weigh in.
“This phase two is all about getting community input. Some very difficult decision have been put before our schools,” Davis said. “We’re very sensitive to this information and how it impacts communities and our entire organization. We also have to be able to look at the utilization of our schools and we have to be fiscally responsible.”
Many parents have expressed concerns about the proposals including Bryon Main, who just moved to Tampa from New York. After doing research, Main chose his new home to ensure his daughters would be able to attend Plant High School.
“It’s everything. We had a number of different areas within not only Tampa, but also other areas of Florida, but we specially chose South Tampa for the school district,” said Main.
However, under one of the proposals, the boundary where he lives would change, and his daughters would have to instead attend nearby Jefferson High School.
“There are so many questions in our mind, how’s it gonna impact school busing, how is it going to impact transportation, how is it going to impact schedules, and what kind of classes and courses are offered at Jefferson,” Main said.
Main hopes to get more answers at upcoming meetings and hopes the district will communicate better with parents.
“People are confused, so we’re just looking for greater clarity and communication from the superintendent behind this decision,” Main said.
The district will hold several more meetings to allow parents to review the firm’s recommendations and share feedback.
The meetings will take place this week at the following locations:
- Middleton High School & Plant City High School, Monday, Jan. 9 at 5:30 p.m.
- Brandon High School & Sumner High School, Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 5:30 p.m.
- Plant High School & Leto High School, Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 5:30 p.m.
- Gaither High School & Sickles High School, Thursday, Jan. 12 at 5:30 p.m.
- Bloomingdale High School & Wharton High School, Friday, Jan. 13 at 5:30 p.m.
Many parents have expressed frustration with the changes, telling WFLA they picked and purchased their homes based on the school zone.
“We chose here because of the location, the school district,” one mother said.
Others are worried about how the changes will affect their children.
“He has made a lot of friends. He’s academic is excellent. He’s always on the principal’s list so we are very concerned about going to Jefferson H.S.,” Emma Rogiers said about her son.
The district said that after the meetings, the boundary analysis team plans to review the community’s input and revise the boundary scenarios before presenting the final scenarios to the school board.
You can review the proposed plans on the school district’s website.