ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The St. Johns County School Board's recent decision to make boundary changes for nearly 1,000 families to relieve some overcrowded schools sparked outrage from parents, emails released Tuesday show.
In a stack of more than 260 emails full of emotion, parents wrote in to school district officials about what a "terrible idea" the change was. One parent claimed she was "fighting for my life."
The move to rezone the schools to relieve overcrowding and help fill up a new elementary school will take effect next school year.
While the district was contemplating the change, parents expressed their frustration. At Durbin Creek Elementary School, nearly 300 students will be forced to change schools.
"My son is a special needs child. He has autism. This is a very tough transition for him," said Kaylin Palmer, whose son goes to Fruit Cove Middle and could be moved to Switzerland Point Middle.
Palmer was not alone in her concerns. Just about every email sent to the school district represented angry parents.
One wrote, "My son and his wife struggled so that they could buy a house that would allow their children to go to a neighborhood school."
Another said, "We bought in Durbin South due to the immediate proximity of the school."
"You will be dividing a community between two schools," one parent wrote.
"It doesn't make sense to shift students from one overcrowded school to another," another added.
Several emails were similar to this one: "This will affect my property value, create a financial hardship as well as a hardship on my family."
Not every email was negative. One parent wrote about support for the school district, and another parent said what the district was doing made a lot of sense.
Overall, 1,094 students from nine schools will be moved. About half will be going to a new elementary school. The rest will be shifted to and from other schools.