By Tamas Mondovics

Given the continued growth in the southeast part of Hillsborough County, it was only a matter of time before school district officials would announce more attendance and boundary changes, offering relief to the overcrowding. The last time school officials addressed the issue was ahead of the 2015-2016 school year affecting high school students within the county’s SouthShore region, which according to County Schools Growth Management and Planning General Manager Lorraine Duffy-Suarez, has so far “worked out as planned.”

With balancing the attendance at local high schools behind them—at least for now—it was time to propose an attendance boundary change on the elementary school level, involving Stowers, Bevis, Boyette Springs, and Pinecrest Elementary Schools.

School officials scheduled an open house, public meeting on Tuesday, February 9 at Stowers Elementary School at 13915 Barrington Stowers Dr. in Lithia, from 6-7:30 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria.

“Instead of a formal presentation, the informal open house meeting format was designed to give parents a chance to talk to staff members, offer input, and review the information throughout the evening,” Suarez said.

Suarez explained that the proposal is focusing on providing relief to Stowers, which currently has a student count of 1,058 with a seating capacity of 972.

Based on the proposal, Stowers will start the 2016-2017 school year with nearly 400 students less, making room for future growth for the campus.

While balancing enrollments, the changes do not impact students currently assigned to Bevis, Boyette Springs, or Pinecrest Elementary Schools.

According to school officials, with a seating capacity of 1,019 and a current enrollment of 572, Boyette Springs Elementary has plenty of room for taking a number of students from Stowers.

Students attending another school through a choice, magnet, or charter school can continue at their currently enrolled school.

The district’s transportation department will determine those neighborhoods that will be eligible for bus transportation and those neighborhoods where students will walk to school. Visit www.sdhc. k12.fl.us. Email boundaries@sdhc. k12.fl.us. Call 272-4608.