73ºF

Starting Monday, parents may enroll children in any school district

House Bill 7029 allows parents to enroll children in counties they don't live in

photo

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Starting Monday, parents can enroll their children in any school district, no matter where they live.

The new law, known as House Bill 7029, will give parents the chance to send their kids to any public school in the state, so long as there’s room.

Prior to the bill, children had to attend school in the same county that they live in. But now, those county restrictions are going away.

News4Jax spoke to some residents in St. Johns County like Donald Ster, who said he supports the bill, but has some reservations.

“It’s a tough call,” Ster said. “People that aren’t paying taxes in this area, maybe some people don’t feel like they should be allowed to have their kids come into this school district. At the same time, you want the best for everybody.”

In Northeast Florida, many parents said they believe the best schools are in St. Johns County. With the passing of House Bill 7029, St. Johns County could see an influx of new students from neighboring counties.

“I think it’s great,” Amberly Wilson said. “As long as students that are here don’t get bumped out, I’m welcome to that.”

Before the new bill was passed, parents had to live in the county, which for some families meant considerable commute times and other sacrifices.

“We moved down here for the schools specifically,” Ster said. “We had to pay for a more expensive house. We’ve got a higher mortgage payment. We had to move, that was a pain. We’re still unpacking a year and a half later.”

Missy Logie, a grandparent of two, understands that not everyone can afford to do what Ster did, and said the area can benefit from accepting outside students.

“(There could be) more nationalities represented in the school district,” Logie said. “The earlier the kids are exposed to different cultures, growing up side by side as friends in school, I think, that would really add greatly to this community.”

There’s about a month left to get applications in the lottery -- meaning for some, the chance for a better education for may come down to pure luck.