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Hernando County high school rezoning plan up for review

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando's high schoolers and soon-to-be freshmen can now study the proposed attendance boundaries for the 2010 school year.

Next fall's opening of the still-unnamed high school north of Weeki Wachee means rezoning for three of the county's other high schools: Springstead, Central and Hernando.

Under the proposal, the boundaries for Central and Springstead will shrink to ease overcrowding at those schools by shifting students to the new high school and to Hernando High, Jim Knight, director of student services, said last week.

"We significantly reduced their attendance zones," Knight said of Central and Springstead.

The School Board will review the proposed zones at its regular meeting Tuesday. If the board reaches a general consensus of approval, the district will hold a public meeting at Springstead High next month, Knight said.

The first public hearing before the board would likely be in January.

The rezoning process usually riles at least some families. This is the first high school with open zoning to open since Central some 20 years ago, and Knight was hesitant to predict what the reaction might be.

He said students who will be freshman next year will likely be excited to open a new high school. But at least some who will be sophomores may already be attached to their current schools.

"I'm sure a lot of ninth-graders will want to go there, but it will be the 10th-graders that will be interesting to see," he said.

The new school, temporarily dubbed EEE, would open with a projected 844 students next year, or about half of its 1,529-student capacity, Knight said.

The school's proposed zone includes the entire portion of the county west of U.S. 19 and a swath on the east side that extends from the Citrus to Pasco county lines.

On the north side of State Road 50, portions reach as far east as Nightwalker Road, U.S. 98 and the Suncoast Parkway.

South of 50, the zone includes a portion of densely populated southern Spring Hill bordered on the east by Deltona Boulevard and Waterfall Drive.

Only ninth- and 10th-graders will attend the school in its first year and feed the upper classes starting in 2011. The School Board has already agreed it's best to avoid moving juniors and seniors from their current schools.

Some students who would have been 10th-graders at Central and Springstead High next year will instead head to the new high school. Students in ROTC and in the automotive programs, which won't immediately be offered at the new high school, would be able to opt out of the move, Knight said. It's still unclear how many will take that option.

The other unknown factor is next year's freshman class at Nature Coast Technical High. The magnet school pulls from throughout the county so is not included in the rezoning, but as many as 385 freshmen could be admitted to Nature Coast for 2010 and officials don't yet know from which of the other schools' attendance zones they will come.

The proposed boundaries, if approved, would take a projected 225 students from Central, bringing that school to about 95 percent of permanent capacity next year. Permanent capacity is calculated without portables.

Springstead's student body would shrink by about 500 students but the school on Mariner Drive would still hover near 100 percent capacity, Knight said.

Hernando, in Brooksville, would be at roughly 90 percent capacity.

Tony Marrero can be reached at tmarrero@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1431.

on the web

See the attendance zones

To view the proposed new high school boundaries:

• Go to www.hernandoschools.org.

• Click on School Board E-Agendas under the main menu.

• Click on the link for the Nov. 17 workshop. The proposed zone maps are under Item No. 4.

• School officials were still working on amendments to the map on Friday. The biggest change would have the zone of the new high school, temporarily dubbed EEE, also include the portion of Spring Hill north of Sealawn Drive, west of Deltona and south of State Road 50. An updated map may be posted online as early as Monday.

Hernando County high school rezoning plan up for review 11/14/09 [Last modified: Saturday, November 14, 2009 1:13pm]
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