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Proposed boundaries for new Steinbrenner High will affect several schools

Carolina Gleason, at microphone, asks several questions about the proposed boundary changes for several high schools.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Carolina Gleason, at microphone, asks several questions about the proposed boundary changes for several high schools.

TAMPA — Lots of questions, not so many complaints.

That's what about 400 parents offered Wednesday night about the proposed attendance zone for Steinbrenner High School.

Most of the concerns raised during a 90-minute public meeting came from Lutz parents whose children would not be assigned to a new school. Those families live east of U.S. 41, and their children are zoned for Freedom High School in New Tampa.

That means long bus rides, family transportation hassles, reduced opportunities to play sports and being separated from lifelong school chums who live west of U.S. 41.

The problem, those families say, is nothing would change under the school district's proposed plan for Steinbrenner. Their kids would still go to Freedom, not Gaither or Steinbrenner, which are closer.

"Keep us in our own neighborhood," Lakes of Wellington resident Chuck Eade pleaded as fellow Lutz residents applauded. "That's where we want to be."

Steinbrenner High is scheduled to open on Lutz-Lake Fern Road, near the Suncoast Parkway, in August.

Freedom's boundaries would not change because it is not overcrowded, Hillsborough school administrators say. Moving students out of Freedom would create wasteful excess capacity there, they say.

But Hillsborough school officials do propose moving other students, most from Sickles High and some from Gaither High, both of which are overcrowded, to Steinbrenner.

Sickles would pick up some students from Alonso High.

But all four schools would end up under their designed capacity.

That drew praise from one parent and applause from others in the Sickles auditorium.

Saying she's tired of seeing her children attend class in portables at Sickles, Lisa Kasson of Odessa said, "we are thrilled to see this new school opening."

Administrators said they would consider suggestions from the meeting and probably do some fine-tuning. The School Board could vote on the boundaries as soon as Feb. 10.

For the most part, questions came from people who weren't sure which side of a boundary line they live on, or were curious about the curriculum or sports at Steinbrenner High.

A few people asked about Chamberlain High School, which is overcrowded but would not be affected by the proposed changes. Administrators say they are looking at other ways to address that problem.

Rising seniors would stay at the schools they attend now, so Steinbrenner would not have a senior class its first year.

The district plans to hold a special choice period from March 3 to 13 specifically for families at the affected high schools.

Proposed boundaries for new Steinbrenner High will affect several schools 01/28/09 [Last modified: Thursday, January 29, 2009 2:07am]
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