UPDATE: According to Lauren Roth, Senior manager of facilities communications for Orange County Public Schools, OCPS is planning to allow Howard and Hillcrest students to stay at their school. Click HERE to see proposed rezoning maps.
The OCPS will be rezoning its schools soon and that has some people up in arms.
A petition has begun circulating that calls on the public school system to allow households that are located in the current Hillcrest and Howard zones, to be given the ability to apply to their magnet programs, rather than possibly being moved elsewhere.
Jennifer Johannesmeyer: “Our child attended Hillcrest, walking to school each day with neighboring students. Attending neighborhood schools generates investment in community, sense of pride and environmental responsibility. Our home, students and our community benefit from children attending the school in the neighborhood in which they live.”
David Ballentine: “Having an elementary school as well as a Middle school within walking distance of where one resides is a “value- addition” to ones home, particularly when it becomes necessary to sell. Any residential area benefits from the fact that it contains a large majority of young families with school age children, who share common interests. In my opinion, it would be the most logical approach to avoid having to transport long distances any children already within their existing historical borders. Transporting children is fraught with risks of accident not to mention inconvenience.“
There will be three new K-8 schools opening in the Downtown Orlando area beetween 2017 and 2018. As a result of that, the district has been forced to reconsider their existing school zones. The changes are part of a neighborhood school initiative that will end the busing of children from the Parramore area to eight different elementary schools, which is the current practice. According to a recent press release, “It will also turn Hillcrest Elementary, home to a district Foreign Language Magnet program, and Howard Middle, home to the Howard Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts Magnet, into zoneless magnet programs. Current students in the school zones would be able to remain at the schools. Currently, 61 percent of Hillcrest’s and 36 percent of Howard’s students are in the magnet programs.”