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Pinellas school district introduces second phase of rezoning plan

The Pinellas school district rolled out the second phase of its rezoning plan Wednesday — a proposed change to 20 elementary schools that will affect about 400 incoming kindergarten students.

As with still-pending changes to middle and high school zones, reaction from parents remains to be seen.

Nearly 1,900 students in grades K-4 will also be in new zones. But under the staff's recommendation, they'll remain in their current schools — and will continue to receive transportation — unless a request to attend their zoned school is made during the district's open enrollment period.

Their younger siblings will likely not be allowed to join them at a school where they are no longer zoned.

The board will take an initial vote on the changes Tuesday. The final vote will be March 15.

Pinellas has more than 60 zoned elementary schools. At 13 of the 20 proposed for change, the net gain or loss in kindergarten students this fall will be 20 or less. The schools that will lose the most: Sawgrass Lake (52), Shore Acres (39) and McMullen-Booth (33). The schools that will gain the most: Sandy Lane (44), Blanton (35) and Skyview (33).

The changes are the result of an annual review that considers a long list of factors, including neighborhood changes, school capacity and state-mandated class-size limits. Adjustments at one school ripple into others.

In St. Petersburg, the number of kindergarteners at Sawgrass Lake Elementary has ballooned, rising from 146 to 173 to 186 in three years. To alleviate overcrowding, changes had to be made to several nearby schools.

The district notified the directly affected families through phone messages Tuesday. Letters are expected to go out Friday. Parents can also use the "zoned school locator" on the district website, www.pcsb.org.

The district has scheduled two public meetings for input. The first: John Hopkins Middle School, Feb. 17, 7-8:30 p.m. The second: Countryside High, Feb. 21, 7-8:30 p.m.

The district website has zoning maps, but they're not specific enough to show many major roads. District officials say they're hoping to have more detailed maps — at least for the most-impacted schools — by Tuesday.

Ron Matus can be reached at matus@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8873.

Pinellas school district introduces second phase of rezoning plan 02/02/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 11:06pm]
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