• Seminole Co. elementary students return to different schools with extra security


    SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Thousands of students will be going to new elementary schools in Seminole County Monday because of rezoning.

    Some parents were upset about the rezoning issue, and due to overcrowding parents said they were scared their kids could end up in portable classrooms.

    "I will not be happy if my kids are in one of those portables," said Longwood resident Holly Coffey.

    Coffey hoped to keep her two sons in their old school, Heathrow Elementary School, but it was over capacity. Her neighborhood was rezoned to balance the numbers out.

    "That was the whole point of the rezoning, to even it out, and then to go to an overcrowded school, it just doesn't seem right," said Coffey.

    "It's not a perfect science by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it's the best the committee could do with the information they had at the time," said Seminole County Director of Attendance Tim Harper.

    Most of Seminole County's elementary schools were rezoned, but district officials said they plan to hold off on rezoning middle schools and high schools.

    Monday was Alexa Connors' first day of third grade and first day at Layer Elementary School in Winter Springs.

    "Are you nervous about your first day of school?" asked Channel 9's Marisa Mendelson

    "A little," said Alexa.

    About 3,000 Seminole County students are going to different elementary schools because of the district rezoning.

    "Right now I would be telling you we would have to close two schools if we did not rezone," said Seminole County Superintendent Walt Griffin.

    Because of overcrowding, some schools now have portable classrooms like the ones at Lake Mary Elementary.

    "We've had a lot of growth in the community -- new apartment complexes, new neighborhoods," Griffin said.

    Seminole County schools continue to grow. Griffin said over 64,300 students are enrolled this year.

    "The numbers will continue to grow over the first two weeks traditionally. But we do believe we're going to have an uptick in enrollment," Griffin said.

    The district is also making security changes at Seminole County schools. In a new effort called "Focus on Safety," Griffin said all 22 elementary schools will have a school resource deputy on campus. The district and the Sheriff's Office are splitting the $700,000 cost.

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