By Tamas Mondovics
Given the continued growth in the southeastern part of Hillsborough County, boundary changes offering relief to the overcrowding in area schools is inevitable.
The last time Hillsborough County Public Schools officials addressed the topic was ahead of the 2015-2016 school year affecting area high school students.
According to school officials, it was now time to propose an attendance boundary change on the elementary school level, involving Stowers, Bevis, Pinecrest and at a later date, Boyette Springs Elementary Schools.
To reach parents locally and get some input, school officials scheduled an open house, public meeting last month at Stowers Elementary School.
According to County Schools Growth Management and Planning, General Manager Lorraine Duffy-Suarez, the proposal has focused on providing relief to Stowers, which currently has a student count of 1,058 with a seating capacity of 972.
“While balancing enrollments, the proposed reassignment of Stowers Elementary students to Bevis and Pinecrest will provide a temporary relief to Stowers,” Suarez said, adding that the change will not impact students currently assigned to Bevis, or Pinecrest Elementary Schools but will make room for future growth at the Stowers campus.
The reassignment from Stowers to Bevis and Pinecrest will be recommended to the School Board for the 2016-17 season, later this year.
Students residing within the areas of change shown on the map are proposed to be reassigned for the school year beginning August 2016.
After public comment and additional research, district officials have also decided to recommend to the School Board that the area proposed to be reassigned from Stowers to Boyette Springs be placed on hold and reevaluated next school year due to a of number factors, including the launch of the Center for Gifted Studies which will increase enrollment at the Boyette Springs campus.
HCPS officials have also announced the opening of a brand new elementary school “C,” which has not been named yet, but is slated to open in the Triple Creek area in 2017.
“This new school is to relieve Summerfield, Summerfield Crossings and Collins Elementary Schools,” said HCPS Spokesperson Tanya Arja. “We will discuss the boundaries for that school and may look at a small part of the existing Stowers boundaries.”
Student reassignments from Stowers to Boyette Springs Elementary (including those areas contained within the original staff proposal) will continue to be reevaluated during the drafting of the new attendance boundaries for elementary “C.”
Decreasing enrollments at Stowers during the redistricting plan for the 2017-2018 school year will also be monitored.
Students attending another school through a Choice, Magnet, or Charter School can continue at their currently enrolled school.
Exceptional Student Education (ESE) services and the HOST program currently offered at each of the schools will continue to be offered.
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.
For more information and updates visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us. To submit questions and comments, email to firstname.lastname@example.org.To receive a return phone call, include phone number in the email message or call 272-4608.