TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Hillsborough County Public Schools held two more community meetings Thursday night as parents continue providing feedback about the controversial proposals to rezone thousands of students.
News Channel 8 learned at the meeting at Gaither High School that the proposed rezoning in the northern part of the district would have the biggest impact on elementary and middle school students.
“We’ve seen huge growth in the last few years, but there has to be a way to provide stability for the kids and the families,” HCPS parent Corina Sheridan said.
Her daughter in fourth grade brought a sign that says “Let me stay” to the meeting at Gaither High School.
“She’ll only have a handful of kids in her entire grade that she’ll be moving to schools with,” Sheridan said.
While her daughter could be grandfathered in for fifth grade at “A” rated Schwarzkopf Elementary School, Sheridan said she is worried about her home being rezoned to “C” rated Buchanan Middle School.
“So going to a school like Buchanan that doesn’t have the same support system, that doesn’t have the same opportunities is going to be a big deal,” she said.
Under scenario 3, up to 24,000 students across Hillsborough County could be forced to change schools as the nation’s seventh-largest school district tries to save money while fixing under and over-enrolled schools.
“Our schools that we’re at right now are “A” schools and so that is why we live in the neighborhood we live in,” Christy Harvey told News Channel 8.
Harvey said there’s a chance four of her children could end up at four different elementary and middle schools next year. She said she believes the district should not have introduced the possible boundary changes right before winter break.
“It really doesn’t give parents time to figure out another solution,” Harvey said, “whether that is school choice or private school. All those enrollment periods start in January so we don’t have time to figure out what we’re going to do.”
Sheridan said she’s already thinking ahead about what she might do if her daughter is rezoned for the lower-rated school.
“I commute for a living and I would probably move my family to Houston,” she said.
Before the school board votes on any possible boundary changes, the members will meet for a workshop on Jan. 31.
There are two more community meetings Friday night at Wharton High School and Bloomingdale High School.