A slightly more concrete figure for a potentially smaller Palm Harbor IB
We're not sure this is going to make the IB parents at Palm Harbor University feel any better, but district officials have now set a floor for how much smaller a downsized IB program can get. According to the agenda item (go to page 43) for Janssen's student assignment plan - which the board will take a final vote on Tuesday - a reduction in the incoming ninth grade class in 2011-12 "would be no less than 100 but not more than 150" and would be determined "after analyzing the number of zoned students who were assigned."
The new language comes after the Palm Harbor IB issue prompted another lengthy debate at Monday's board workshop.
Superintendent Julie Janssen had earlier floated the possibility of the program being shrunk to about 375 students, down from about 550 currently. But some board members later said they didn't want to have a specific number to shoot for and wanted to let things settle for a year, given so many unknowns, including the re-zoning that's coming next month and the draw of new academic programs at other schools.
The issue came up again Monday, with board member Linda Lerner saying the issue was still too muddled and needed clarity and member Terry Krassner saying she was not in favor of reducing the numbers. Members Robin Wikle and Peggy O'Shea were most sympathetic to the idea for some kind of IB reduction, given overcrowding that has forced some Palm Harbor-area students to be zoned into other schools.
O'Shea said the integrity of the IB program isn't based on numbers. Lerner said it is.
This could be a close vote on Tuesday. And it looks like the board may split off some part of Janssen's student assignment plan for separate votes.
On a related note, board member Robin Wikle raised the possibility of putting Clearwater High into the mid-county application area for the Largo High IB. Right now it's in the north county application area for the Palm Harbor IB. Lerner liked that idea, too, but as far as we can tell it hasn't been added as a change anywhere ...