St. Johns County open enrollment begins next month

4 schools with seats available for 2019-20 school year

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - Parents who don't live in St. Johns County but want their children to attend school there can apply to enroll them soon.

St. Johns County School District Controlled Open Enrollment for the 2019-20 school year will start next month. Parents outside the county must apply between Jan. 24 and Feb. 27. 

Schools with enrollment below 80 percent are available through open enrollment. The school caps it at 80 percent to maintain room for expected future growth.

There are four schools -- three elementary schools and one middle school -- with seats available for next school year:

PVPV-Rawlings Elementary School in Ponte Vedra Beach has 15 available seats.
Ocean Palms Elementary School in Ponte Vedra Beach has 46 available seats.
The Webster School in St. Augustine has 302 seats available at the elementary school.
Murray Middle School in St. Augustine has 105 available seats. 

PVPV-Rawlings and The Webster School were on the list last year. According to the school district, PVPV-Rawlings is likely on the list again because it’s a built-out community, so enrollment stays pretty flat. 

Murray Middle was not on the list last year but was the year before. That's because of an enrollment shift, according to the school district. 

Ocean Palms is new to the list, which the district said is likely because of rezoning. Many students at that school went to Palm Valley Academy when it opened this year. 

Some St. Johns County parents support open enrollment.

"As long as ... they're not adding kids to make the schools overcrowded, I have no problem with that," said Gigi Stramm, a mother of two St. Johns County boys.

Others do not.

"I feel for our schools. The way they are is based on buying into the county," said Joel Allen, a father of two St. Johns County girls.

Both parents, however, love their children's school district.

"It's been great. We really, really love the schools and we're happy," Stramm said.

Allen said, "We looked up the best schools. St. Johns came up. So that's why we came here."

Parents who live out of the county are reminded that they must provide their own transportation for their children. 

Feb. 28 through March 6 is when the district will do lotteries if needed. For example, if 75 students apply for the 46 seats at PVPV-Rawlings, a lottery is done first for in-county students then, if there are seats still available, out-of-county students. 

Parents can apply online.

The school board is expected to officially approve the plan next Tuesday. Then all the information will be available on the school district's website

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