More on fundamental schools, rezoning in Pinellas
Sorry to bring this to you late, but among other noteworthy things at Tuesday's Pinellas school board workshop:
The board agreed not to make elementary school zoning changes this year and instead will look towards bigger, more comprehensive elementary rezonings next year. (For some overcrowded schools, most notably Sawgrass Lake, something will have to be done in the meantime.) "I really believe we should not try to do the (elementary) rezoning," Superintendent Julie Janssen said. "We would be piecemealing it."
The board also had a spirited debate about Janssen's suggestion for two new fundamental schools, which took some members by surprise.
"Are you suggesting that for this year?" member Linda Lerner said after Janssen's pitch.
"Yes," Janssen said.
"Oh no. I don't think so," Lerner responded.
Lerner and Lew Williams noted the board recently voted 4-3 against the idea of re-opening Kings Highway as a fundamental this year.
"At the last minute, to bring this in ... is not the way we should be doing our work," Lerner said. "I'd be very positive about looking at it as part of a bigger plan next year."
"Why are we bringing up so many opportunities to flip flop when we really don't have to?" Williams said. "If we voted no as a board, doesn't no mean no."
Janssen said she was compelled by the application data, which she said indicated 2100 parents put fundamental schools down as their first choice.
"Listen to your constituents. I've heard that twice as many times as anything else," she said. The number of ranked applications for fundamental schools "jumps out at me."
"It's fine if this is something you don't want to do," she continued. "I have to bring it to you."
Board members Wikle and O'Shea supported Janssen's idea.
"I think you're very brave and bold," Wikle said. "We can try to do what the parents want. If this isn't clear data, I don't know what is."
The Gradebook was planning to post the data, but it turned out to have some discrepancies. We'll post it when we get a corrected version. The Gradebook also asked the district for the number of open slots at all the fundamental, magnet and other choice programs. We'll post that, too, if and when we get it.