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'Going to be difficult:' New plan to solve school overcrowding heads to district leaders

Dr. Joaquin Garcia High School (PBCSD){ }
Dr. Joaquin Garcia High School (PBCSD)
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The Palm Beach County School District’s Advisory Boundary Committee (ABC) has put together their final plans that could impact thousands of students in an attempt to alleviate overcrowding in schools.

The driving force behind this is the new Dr. Joaquin Garcia High School opening in the fall.

ABC members held its last meeting on Thursday, and their recommendations are now on the way to Superintendent Mike Burke.

“We recognize it was going to be difficult,” said committee member Cinthia Becton during the final meeting.

ABC already approved a zoning map earlier this month, but it still has to go to board members and the superintendent for review.

The map represents their plans to pull students from John I. Leonard, Palm Beach Central, Park Vista and Santaluces high schools, and place them in the new school off of Lyons Rd.

After a 12-4 vote by the committee, Thursday’s final recommendations include:

Concerns of the Committee:

  • Allow for rising juniors to remain in their current schools, in addition to the siring seniors and their siblings.
  • Provide for additional resources at Boynton Beach Community High School.
  • Ensure sufficient resources for Dr. Joaquin Garcia High School.
  • Attempt to achieve optimal utilization and/or accommodate space requirements for current and/or future programmatic needs.
  • Continue to enforce Policy 5.001, to include Park Vista High.

Community concerns head by the Committee:

  • Consider SAC227C (Park Vista High) traffic safety concerns.
  • The feeder planner for SAC227 isolated them from their Christa McAuliffe Middle peers to Park Vista High School.
  • Study 7 does not address the concerns of Greenacres officials and parents and has Greenacres students going to five different high schools.
  • Students that have auditioned for, or in a merit-based program, should be given the opportunity to remain at their current high schools to complete their programs.
  • The final plan approved late Thursday night came after hours-long arguments and public comments.

“Our kids are being ripped out of their community for no good reason,” said Rebecca Jacobson during public comment.

Another pointed to possible commute problems for Park Vista students if they switch over, citing traffic safety concerns.

“The moment that there will be a traffic fatality involving a child outside the Isola Bella community will be on the hands of this committee,” said John Perkins.

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Enforcement was also discussed.

“I’m concerned that students are going to continue going to the schools that they want to attend as opposed to the schools that they’re required to attend,” said committee member Nellie Titcomb.

The school district will have the final say.

The Advisory Bounder Committee and school board members will read and talk about the proposed plans in a workshop meeting scheduled for Wednesday, February 15, 2023.

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