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Early look at plans for school attendance boundary changes

Published on: July 15, 2021

LINDA CHION KENNEY
Entrance to Jule F. Sumner in the Balm/Riverview area, Hillsborough County’s largest and newest high school.

Early look at plans for school attendance boundary changes

By LINDA CHION KENNEY

A “double sessions/busing plan” for three schools in south Hillsborough County has made the list of proposed attendance boundary changes that school board members can expect to review in the months ahead.

This particular item involves Barrington Middle School in Lithia, Shields Middle School in Ruskin and the newly opened Sumner High School in the Balm/Riverview area, where break-neck growth and new home construction continue to make their mark.

School officials stress the list is for “planning purposes only.”

Officially known as the “Proposed Attendance Boundary Changes” list, it is updated regularly in response to the school board’s request that its members be kept abreast of upcoming boundary changes “prior to staff moving forward with the scenarios and public outreach.”

The latest list revision is dated July 2021 and includes items that affect, as well, Collins and Frost elementary schools; Eisenhower and Rodgers middle schools and East Bay, Lennard and Newsome high schools, among others.

School board members were set to receive the list at their July 13 board meeting as an information item.

The list includes proposed boundary changes for three school years, from 2021-22 through 2023-24. For each of the proposed changes, release dates for public discussion and community review are set for one or two years in advance of proposed implementation.

Changes often are required to address overcrowding and to reset attendance boundaries as new schools open, as is the case for a new high school set to open in 2025, contingent upon school site location approval in south Hillsborough County.

When it opens with its official name, High School “UUU” is expected to affect attendance boundaries for Bloomingdale, Brandon, East Bay, Lennard, Newsome and Sumner high schools, according to the latest list revision. The proposal affecting High School UUU is set for release in Spring 2023 with implementation set for August 2025.

Changes also are required to address new grade-arrangements for existing schools, as is the case for Collins Elementary School in Riverview, which is set to transform into a pre-kindergarten through grade 8 school. Proposed attendance boundary changes for Collins are set to be released for review in the fall, with changes taking effect in August 2023. Involved in the review would be Barrington and Rodgers middle schools in Riverview and Eisenhower Middle School in Gibsonton.

Also set for a fall 2021 proposal release date is a two-years-in-advance review of “boundary splits by new developments.”

Again, the revised boundary changes list is for planning purposes only.

Indeed, the disclaimer that sits atop the list notes that district staff “has no information or data regarding which neighborhoods may be impacted” and that “all impacted families will be contacted prior to any boundary change approval.”

The disclaimer further notes that several variables affect the need for such changes, “including but not limited to, the pace of residential growth, impact fee collections, land purchases, changes in student generation rates and stay rates.”

The list comes under the direction of Chris Farkas, the school district’s chief of operations, who is requesting that the school board issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to procure a consulting firm to address attendance boundary issues.

“Due to the extensive amount of data, analysis and public outreach required to implement a change of this scale, a consulting firm must be procured,” the document reads, after noting that district-wide attendance boundaries “have been requested continually by school board members, staff members, equity groups and parents.”

Rounding out the items on the latest list revision, Oak Park Elementary and Foster Elementary repurposing proposals would be released in the fall for implementation in August 2022. The Oak Park proposal could affect Frost Elementary School in Riverview and Bing and Clair Mel elementary schools in Tampa. Meanwhile, the Foster repurposing could involve Oak Grove, Egypt Lake and Mendenhall elementary schools in Tampa.

Also called for in that time frame is an analysis of the impacts for proposed, undeveloped multifamily development located within the Plant City High School attendance boundaries.

Set for a spring 2022 proposal release, with implementation set for August 2023, is an item that affects “underutilized schools as identified in the boundary analysis RFP” and an item that addresses middle school “feeder cleanups” in North Tampa.

To view the agenda item, visit www.sdhc.k2.fl.us and search for the July 13 school board agenda. The item is numbered 12.01R and falls under “Information Item.” Search also to watch school board meetings live. Meetings are available, as well, on the school district’s YouTube channel.

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