Osceola County’s rapid growth is hindering students’ education, school board member says

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — An Osceola County School Board member said the county’s rapid growth is having a negative impact on students’ performance.

“Osceola County is growing too fast,” School Board Member Julius Melendez said.


Melendez said he’s not anti-growth but wants to see smart growth, which is why he has a plan to rewrite some local development rules.

“One of the reasons why we’re suffering is because our county is growing so fast that we don’t have certified teachers in there to give adequate instruction to our students,” he said.

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Melendez said hiring teachers remains a big priority. But as school administrators try to catch up, Melendez wants to rewrite an interlocal agreement to give the school board more of a say when it comes to new developments getting approved.

The current interlocal agreement was last amended in 2013 . It says in reviewing plans for development, Osceola County and the cities of Kissimmee and St. Cloud need to review things like available school capacity and traffic circulation plans. But Melendez said he also wants local governments to consider things like school staffing levels where new developments are proposed.

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Melendez said he will be announcing a task force next week to help him come up with that new proposal that he will eventually submit to the school board and later Osceola County.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.