VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Parents are raising concerns about plans for moving students to different schools in Volusia County.
School administrators are rolling out plans for rezoning schools across the county to accommodate for rapid population growth in several areas.
Final decisions on approving the rezoning changes won’t come for a few months, but school administrators are now holding several meetings at schools affected. Some parents are making it clear they’re not happy about the rezoning plans.
At Citrus Grove Elementary School in DeLand, there are several worried parents who don’t want to see their children moved to a different school.
“I am having a really hard time coming to terms with moving,” said one mother.
Volusia County school administrators are laying out new proposed attendance boundaries and changes to accommodate for population growth. The new boundaries would move students to different schools.
“We never want to rezone these kids. You just don’t,” said Ron Young, Director of Construction Planning and Business Services for Volusia County Schools. “I had kids in the school system and I know it’s painful to rezone, to start over and make new friends. I get that. But there are a lot of things going on in Volusia County right now.”
School officials say because of growth from a lot of development, they must shift some students to keep school capacities and class sizes on target.
For example, Citrus Grove is over capacity at about 112%. Students there would move to Woodward Avenue Elementary, which is only at 62%.
At the beginning of 2024, even before plans go through, parents can apply for variances, or exceptions, to keep their kids in the same school.
For now, school administrators are getting parents’ input. One of their concerns is some parents believe the school district is prioritizing new residents over existing homeowners. Others don’t think growth is enough to justify the changes.
“It doesn’t seem like a big growth neighborhood for elementary age with apartments going in,” said one parent.
For now, parents can fill out questionnaires. School administrators say the school board will consider input and concerns.
“The ones that come up the most will bubble to the top,” said Young. “Tonight, the same one came up that has come up everywhere, and that is: ‘Can our kids age out at this school?’ So that will certainly be one of the things that we take to the board as a request from the public.”
Volusia County School Administrators will hold more meetings with parents through January. A public hearing will be held in February where school board members could approve the rezoning changes.