TAMPA — New Tampa will soon be home to a K-8 public school, the third in Hillsborough County.
A letter went home to students Wednesday announcing the merger of Turner Elementary and Bartels Middle, two neighboring schools in Live Oak Preserve.
The Hillsborough County School District already has two successful K-8 models in the Rampello Downtown Partnership School across the street from school district headquarters; and Roland Park, a K-8 International Baccalaureate-themed school in the Westshore area.
"One very positive aspect of this configuration is the ease with which students move from elementary school to middle school," Turner Elementary principal Rhonda McMahon wrote in the letter to parents.
The Turner-Bartels merger, which will take effect in the next school year, is the natural result of growing interdependence between the two schools, McMahon wrote.
Turner, with room for 1,200 students, has seen so much growth in recent years, the fourth and fifth grades are now taught in the middle school building.
"This is a logical and educationally sound next step to serve the community," McMahon wrote. "This solution will also make the best use of the two school facilities."
The district is advertising for a K-8 principal. McMahon and Bartels Middle principal Tim Binder have both been invited to apply.
Teachers at both schools have been told they can remain in their jobs.
Some details have yet to be worked out, including the bell schedule.
The announcement comes just weeks after the Hillsborough County School Board voted to change attendance boundaries at Bartels.
More than 300 students who were zoned for Bartels will now be assigned to Liberty and Benito middle schools.
Marlene Sokol can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3356.