Pinellas School Board to hear more about proposed technology magnets
Waiting lists are long each year at fundamental and magnet schools, particularly in southern parts of Pinellas County.
That should come as no surprise to parents in St. Petersburg, Gulfport, Pinellas Park and other communities. It also isn't surprising that many families turn to charter schools or private schools when they can't get a seat at one of the coveted traditional public schools. Others try year after year to secure a seat in a non-neighborhood school via the school district's lottery system.
Now superintendent Mike Grego is trying to do something to alleviate the problem. He's making a more detailed pitch Tuesday to the School Board about a proposal to re-open Gulf Beaches and Kings Highway elementaries as technology magnets. If approved, the schools would have an application period in March or April. They would open in August.
The schools were closed five years ago, along with others, because of shrinking budgets and declining enrollment.
Despite being magnet schools, Gulf Beaches and Kings High would reserve a majority of seats for students who live in the prior attendance boundary. At Gulf Beaches, that's 174 seats out of 348. At Kings Highway, that's 138 seats out of 276. Other seats would be for students who live in south county (Gulf Beaches) or north county (Kings Highway) or have the traditional proximity preference.
Both schools would be kindergarten to fifth grade when they open, but could be expanded in future years to include middle school grades, according to the proposal.
Board members won't approve anything at the work session Tuesday. But, if approved at a later board meeting, district officials will have to push hard to be ready to open by August. Both schools would need renovations, to hire principals and teachers, and to outfit the schools with furniture and technology. Part of the concept for each school is that students would have their own personal learning devices, such as laptops. Those, too, would likely need to be purchased.