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Growing Florida school district seeks to speed major attendance zone shifts

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Madison Middle School is one of Hillsborough County's underutilized campuses. District officials are making plans to balance enrollments across the county.
Madison Middle School is one of Hillsborough County's underutilized campuses. District officials are making plans to balance enrollments across the county. [ JAY CONNER | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Jun. 23

The big story: Hillsborough County school district officials long have grappled with a problem that troubles large and growing systems: Growth does not always happen where the schools are located.

The result has been some campuses bursting at the seams, while others sit well below capacity.

Rather than continually building new schools, the district has contemplated how it can shift students to make better use of existing space. It has to find a sweet spot, though, that doesn’t put children on lengthy bus rides so far from their homes that their families balk.

As the district spends money from its local option sales tax for capital projects, and seeks voter approval for a property tax increase to support salaries, it’s speeding up its effort to redraw those attendance boundaries.

“We’re just trying to maximize all our facilities,” said superintendent Addison Davis. Read more here.

Hot topics

Tax referendums: The Hernando County School Board decided to continue its lawsuit against the County Commission over the scheduling of its sales tax referendum, Suncoast News reports. The county had proposed mediation, which could have lasted beyond the deadline to place an item on the November ballot. • The Flagler County Commission did not dispute placing a School Board sales tax referendum on the November ballot, Flagler Live reports.

Minimum wage: The Sarasota County School Board approved paying all employees at least $15 an hour beginning in July, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Pandemic lawsuits: A judge tossed out a proposed class-action lawsuit in which Florida State University students sought tuition refunds for the time when campus closed because of the pandemic, the News Service of Florida reports.

Other school news

The University of Florida has 17 construction projects taking place on campus. They’re making it hard for students to get around, WUFT reports.

Seven Manatee County schools will participate in a brain health study. Researchers will study concepts such as readiness to learn and school engagement, the Bradenton Herald reports.

Bay County charter schools will start getting an annual share of local-option sales tax revenue. In the past they received funds only for specific projects, WMBB reports.

The Gadsden County school district is preparing to build a new $60 million K-8 school. It would replace two elementary and one middle school that have fallen into disrepair, WCTV reports.

Don’t miss a story. Here’s the link to yesterday’s roundup.

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