ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The St. Johns County School Board on Tuesday morning got its first look at potential attendance zone changes for the northwest part of the county.
The proposed changes which would go into effect this fall come as the district tries to deal with overcrowding issues and plans for a new school in a district that grew more than 7% just this year.
The idea is to slightly change the attendance zones for 11 different schools in northwest and central St. Johns County.
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The biggest changes include attendance zones in the Julington Creek area which would shift and move 162 students from Hickory Creek Elementary to Julington Creek Elementary. 182 students now zoned for Freedom Crossing Academy would also move to Patriot Oaks Academy under the proposal.
The school district is also looking at attendance zone changes that would affect students at Palencia Elementary, Crookshank Elementary and others.
This all comes in anticipation of a new K-8 school being built in the Shearwater development that will help alleviate overcrowding issues at a handful of nearby schools. The school, which the district hopes to have open and running by the 2023-24 school year, will house roughly 1,500 students.
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Superintendent Tim Forson and the school district hosted a virtual and in-person town hall Tuesday at 6 p.m. to get community feedback on the zoning changes for those schools and the new K-8.
″The whole purpose of this is to provide balance in our schools so we can provide the best possible environment for children and the best academic services for all children involved,” Forson said.
A few Parents expressed concerns virtually about overcrowding and traffic..
“I know there is going to be widening on (County Road) 210, is that going to be completed before the new school opened because, you know, there’s going to be a lot of traffic issues as well,” one parent said.
″The outline for the rezoning still shows being 300 students over capacity and that doesn’t account for continued growth,” another parent pointed out.
School officials sat rezoning will be a continuous challenge, and that meetings like these are simply the first steps.
Forson says the district will continue to have a series of public meetings before sending their final recommendation to the school board. The school board will continue to discuss the changes next month and is looking to approve a plan on May 31.
Full zoning change presentation from St. Johns County School District: