Some St. Johns County parents unhappy with zoning changes, but say it’s necessary

Changing St. Johns County school boundaries
Changing St. Johns County school boundaries

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – School boundaries are changing once again in northern St. Johns County.

The school board signed off on the changes Tuesday to help ease some of the overcrowding at Bartram Trail and Nease high schools.

A new high school, High School III, is expected to serve more than 1,300 students in the first year and that’s without a senior class for that first year. It will be made up of students previously zoned for Bartram Trail and Nease.

And St. Johns County’s population continues to boom.

Census data over the last decade shows a 40% increase in the population and that trend is expected to continue.

“With the explosion of the population, and there’s people moving in here every day,” said Mark Miller, St. Johns County resident. “And this being a very desirable location, great county, great school system, I don’t know how they can keep up with it.”

The strain is being felt in the county’s classrooms this year.

The district reported a 5% bump in student enrollment across the county with Bartram Trail High School growing by 7.3% and Nease by 7.8%.

Those schools, in particular, are routinely overcrowded, and to fix that, the district is set to open Tocoi Creek High this fall and next year, High School III.

When that new, currently unnamed school opens in 2022, it will cover an attendance zone affecting students in the Stonehurst Plantation, Johns Creek, Cimarrone, South Hampton and Shearwater neighborhoods.

Some of the parents News4Jax spoke with said while inconvenient the changes are needed to address the overcrowding.

About 1,686 students live in the area who will be high school age at the time the new school opens.In its first year, High School III will service 9th, 10th, and 11th grades only.

The new schools are a welcomed change as both Bartram and Nease are about 1,000 students over ideal capacity.

Timeline for High School III

Summer 2021: Construction continues

Fall 2021: Principal selected

Winter 2021: School naming, school colors and school mascot

Winter 2021: Principal begins hiring teachers and staff

Summer/Fall 2022: School opens


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