HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Sophomore Kaylee Bovee put pen to paper to tell the Hillsborough school board how she feels about the possibility of switching high schools.
“I am making good grades,” she wrote. “I’m even in honors English. I’ve chosen my career path.”
The map for scenario three of the proposed rezoning for Hillsborough County Public Schools would move Bovee from Strawberry Crest High School to Armwood High School. It is the most drastic proposal that could affect where 24,000 students attend school next year.
“She wrote this letter and I read it, I’m emotional and I cried again,” Kaylee’s mom Denise Bovee said.
Bovee’s daughter explains in her letter that she doesn’t want to leave the high school where she discovered her passion for theater and found supportive friends after being bullied in middle school.
“If you vote for option three,” Kaylee wrote, “I will have to go to school with the girls who bullied me. I will not be able to continue earning my points for my theater cord and I will also not be able to continue on that career path.”
Bovee and her mom joined more than 50 other parents and students at Friday night’s boundary analysis meeting at Bloomingdale High School.
Throughout the week, News Channel 8 covered five of the 10 meetings where families took their questions and concerns to school district leaders.
“The public has to be able to express their concerns,” Hillsborough School Board member Lynn Gray said.
Several parents say they are concerned about the timing of potential school rezoning after students faced disruptions to their education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
So 8 On Your Side asked board member Gray, why now?
“I think it’s just at the pinnacle of we must do something,” Gray said.
Gray and other district leaders said they must address the imbalance of overcrowded and under-enrolled schools.
By doing so, HCPS anticipates saving millions of dollars that could be used to increase teacher salaries.
Bovee’s mom teaches at a Hillsborough County elementary school.
“We haven’t gotten a raise in so long,” she said, “but if this is the way we’re going to get a raise, this is the wrong way to go about it.”
HCPS is encouraging parents like Kaylee’s mom to share their specific rezoning concerns directly with the seven school board members.
While the 10 community meetings are over, the district is extending the deadline to submit feedback online until Jan. 22.
The school board members will meet for a critical workshop in this process on Jan. 31.
Superintendent Addison Davis said he will make a recommendation next month before the board votes on the new boundary map.