• Osceola County School Board approves plan that will send thousands of students to new schools

    By: Michael Lopardi


    OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Thousands of students in Osceola County will be headed to a new school in 2018 after the school board voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a major rezoning plan.

    The plan was proposed to help the county deal with recent growth and even out school populations, officials said.

    The first part of the plan, involving Osceola County middle schools, has already been approved.

    A new 3,000-student high school will be opening in 2018 and the high school rezoning plan would help even out the student populations at other schools in the county.

    The new high school will take students from Gateway, Harmony, Osceola and St. Cloud high schools, School Board chairman Kelvin Soto said.

    “A new high school with 3,000-student stations has a very big impact on how the zone for other schools are going to be impacted,” he said.

    Jennifer Weyandt's daughter will be a senior at Gateway High School next year, and while she understands the need for the rezoning plan, she worries that moving schools could be detrimental.

    "It makes sense to rezone them, you know, because they can't all fit here," Weyandt said. "(My daughter) is a good kid. Pretty much straight A's. It's just easier to keep her in the school that she's in, than messing that up."

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    Gateway student Milton Cintron was glad to know that class sizes will be smaller next year.

    "There's too many kids," he said. "I think it's a good idea."

    The School Board will also look at a plan to even out student populations at Celebration and Poinciana high schools during Tuesday's meeting.

    While Weyandt plans to ask the district to allow her daughter to finish high school at Gateway, she understands the reality of the current overpopulation in county schools.

    "This school is overcrowded," she said. "There's a lot of kids here. The classes are huge."

    District officials were also considering how an influx of students fleeing Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria might affect school populations. 

    Soto told Channel 9 that, depending on the number of new students, the district may have to repeat the rezoning process in the near future.

    The Osceola County School Board also voted Tuesday to purchase 13 more school busses at a cost of $132,000.

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