Rules have changed regarding rezoning of Seminole Co. elementary schools

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - The rules have changed for a group of parents and staff meeting to rezone elementary schools in Seminole County.

Parents packed school board headquarters Wednesday night as committees began sifting through hundreds of ideas on how elementary schools should be rezoned.

One of the guidelines was to choose a plan that spreads out the low-income student population, an idea that makes sense to Michelle Gouvein whose son goes to Spring Lake Elementary, where 77 percent of children qualify for free or reduced lunch.

“You want to have everything even on the same plane,” Gouvein said. “We don't want to go back to where we were before.”

But at Wednesday’s meeting, the staff told the committees to push those low-income guidelines aside. The change came after hundreds of parents, many of whom live in Seminole's wealthier neighborhoods, made a fuss in person and online.

Those parents said their children shouldn't have to move schools just so poorer children can be spread evenly throughout the district.

“Is the district backing off on this issue because of pressure from parents in richer neighborhoods?” asked Channel 9’s Bianca Castro.

“No, I think the issue is the core committees,” said John Reichert, SCPS director of human resources. “We’re trying to meet some ranges that in some cases really may not be attainable.”

District officials said the boundary lines will still be redrawn to better balance out low-income students, but it's too early to tell by how much.           
Channel 9 checked records for elementary schools up for rezoning and found those where the majority of students get food assistance are still A- or B-rated schools.