Seminole County school district sees uptick in students

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. —

For the first time in years, the Seminole County school district is seeing an increase in the number of students.

More families are moving to the county and there is once again talk of expanding some schools.

Critics say that'd be a tough pill to swallow, considering the district just closed several schools to save money.

To accommodate the new growth officials are considering expanding Goldsboro Elementary School in Sanford.

It's right in the heart of where new housing developments are going up and there's a lot of extra land for a proposed two story addition.

The halls of Seminole County elementary schools are busier than ever.

District officials rezoned many of the schools to balance the population but they weren't prepared for what they've seen.

"We did anticipate some growth, we didn't anticipate this much," said George Kosmac, SCPS deputy superintendent of operations.

The district has 400 more elementary students this year than this time last year, enough to fill 20 classrooms.

Officials believe new jobs, like the 750 that Verizon Wireless is filling for its Lake Mary facility, are driving the construction of more than 30 subdivisions and apartment complexes.

School expansion worries taxpayers like Diana Evans.

"If they come in and their parents send them to charter school, private schools, (religious) school, homeschool, then we've built these buildings for nothing and we will be selling them out again and giving them away again," Evans said.

Critics said that's exactly what happened when the district built at the height of the housing market in mid-2000.

Officials say they'll proceed with caution.

"Simply because a company is building homes doesn't necessarily say that people are going to buy homes and we want to be sure that that's going to happen before we go too much further," Kosmac said.

The idea to build is on hold, the school board said. It wants to see other options before taking that route.