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RESEGREGATION GROWS AT SOUTH PINELLAS SCHOOLS

The resegregation of south Pinellas schools is continuing and in some cases accelerating.

The latest enrollment figures show the percentage of black students increased this year at 13 of 14 schools that now have a majority of black students.

At Fairmount Park Elementary, it grew from 69 to 86 percent. At Woodlawn Elementary, it grew from 42 to 60 percent.

The shift isn't a surprise, given the return to neighborhood schools. But it puts a fresh exclamation point on the challenge the district faces in boosting the achievement of black students, who as a group struggle more than white students.

For more than three decades, Pinellas capped the percentage of black students who could attend a school - and used busing to keep the caps intact. Under the school choice plan that was scrapped two years ago, no school was allowed to be more than 42 percent black.

Now eight schools are more than 60 percent black. Four are more than 70 percent black.

Trend lines show the rate of resegregation slowed this year at Gibbs and Lakewood high schools and Bay Point Middle School. The rate was up at John Hopkins Middle and six of 10 elementary schools.

Only Sanderlin Elementary, a countywide magnet with a primary years International Baccalaureate program, showed no rise in the percent of black students.

Black students in Pinellas fare worse than those in every other big district in Florida. In July, the Pinellas County School Board promised in a legal agreement that it would offer more specific remedies and hold school-level officials accountable for progress.

Times staff writer Donna Winchester contributed to this report.

Fast facts Change in schools Here's the percentage of black students in south Pinellas schools that have majority black enrollment.

School 2007 2008 2009
Gibbs High 50 58 62
Lakewood High 48 53 56
Bay Point Middle 43 52 56
John Hopkins Middle 43 49 56
Melrose Elementary 56 67 78
Lakewood Elementary 59 67 79
Campbell Park Elementary 47 56 64
Fairmount Park Elementary 61 69 86
Maximo Elementary 58 66 75
Sanderlin Elementary 57 62 62
Woodlawn Elementary 38 42 60
Bear Creek Elementary 44 47 53
Gulfport Elementary 44 48 57
Jamerson Elementary 47 50 53
Source: Pinellas County School District

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