Note: This story has been updated since it was written for the May 19 printed issue of Neighborhood News.
The plan will shift hundreds of students currently attending Pride, Heritage, Hunter’s Green and Clark elementaries for the school year that begins in August, 2018.
After nearly 20 speakers addressed the Board (14 speakers in favor of rezoning and 4 speakers opposed), the Board discussed the proposal at length before voting 6-1 in favor of the rezoning plan. While acknowledging the inconvenience to some parents and the discomfort of change, the Board ultimately chose to move forward with the plan.
Prior to the vote, school district representatives discussed implementation plans that were released online May 4, allowing many families who don’t want to leave Pride Elementary an option to stay there.
• Students who want to move to their new school early, for the upcoming 2017-18 school year (instead of 2018-19, when the changes are proposed to take effect) will have a special choice application to do so between July 11-20, if capacity is available.
• Students currently in 3rd grade (who will be in 5th grade when the plan is implemented) will be allowed to remain at their current school by completing a special choice application.
• Because capacity is expected to be available at Pride, students currently in grades 1-3 at Pride will be eligible to enter a special lottery to remain at Pride for the 2018-19 school year. The lottery will be conducted based on available capacity (estimated 150 seats) and will likely be held next spring or summer.
• No preference will be available for younger siblings of students who fit the above categories.
• School choice will be closed for all schools involved in this proposal for the first year of implementation, with the exception of the special choice applications listed above and hardship applications, which will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
• Transportation is generally not provided to students who are “grandfathered” into their current school or those who choose to opt in to their new school early.
“At Pride, we know we’ll have some space available for some period of time while K-Bar Ranch is being built out,” says Lorraine Duffy Suarez, Hillsborough County Public Schools general manager for growth management. “As long as we have space to accommodate people, we try to, if it doesn’t have a negative effect somewhere else down the line.”
The update provided on May 4 also outlined a slight revision to the original proposal. Students who live in the Addison Park apartments at the corner of Cross Creek Blvd. and Kinnan St. will be moved from Heritage to Pride, to better balance the enrollments at those two schools.
This is in addition to the previously released changes, which make room for expected growth in K-Bar Ranch over the coming years by shifting students in the following ways:
• More than 550 students who are currently bused to Clark and Hunter’s Green from the area surrounding the University of South Florida move to schools in their neighborhood.
• More than 550 students move from Pride to Hunter’s Green (Arbor Greene and Cory Lake Isles residents)
• Nearly 200 students move from Hunter’s Green to Clark (residents of the Morgan Creek apartments)
• About 200 move from Heritage to Pride (K-Bar Ranch and Addison Park residents; Easton Park residents will stay at Heritage)
More information about the proposal and implementation strategies are on the school district’s website at sdhc.k12.fl.us/doc/251/growth-management/resources/boundary/.
Bell Schedule Changes
At its meeting on April 25, the Hillsborough School Board voted to approve changes to the bell schedule for the 2018-19 school year, giving parents time to adjust to new start and end times for most schools.
School superintendent Jeff Eakins says the changes are necessary to allow time for buses to get kids to school on time. The new schedule will add 15 minutes to the school day at the elementary level, which is expected to be filled with additional time for art, music, and physical education. Middle school students lose 15 minutes and high school students lose 32 minutes. Both middle and high schools will keep their seven-period schedules, but may see the elimination of homeroom, a shorter time for lunch, and class periods may be reduced by a minute or two.
For New Tampa elementary schools — including Chiles, Clark, Heritage, Hunter’s Green, Pride and Tampa Palms — the school day will start at 8:35 a.m. and end at 3:05 p.m. beginning in the fall of 2018. At Benito and Liberty middle schools, the school day will start at 9:15 a.m. and end at 4:15 p.m. At Freedom and Wharton high schools, the day will start at 7:15 a.m. and end at 2:10 p.m. Monday will continue to be an early release day, with students being dismissed one hour early.
For students at Turner/Bartels K-8 school, bell times for the 2018-19 school year are still “to be determined.” The District will survey parents this fall and release information about new bell times during the next school year.