Hillsborough County parents voice concerns over school boundary changes during first community meeting

Hillsborough County school leaders kicked off a series of community meetings Monday for parents who have questions and concerns about the district's school boundary re-zoning plans.

The first two of 10 meetings this week took place Monday evening at Middleton and Plant City high schools.

"This is all about active engagement to our constituents," said Superintendent Addison Davis. "We want to listen, we want to learn, we want to grow. We want to be able to make the best decisions that we can for students and also for this organization at scale."

The school system is looking at three possible re-zoning plans. Depending on the action the district decides to take, between 11,000 and 24,000 students could be impacted. Davis said the changes would save the district up to $120 million.

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District leaders have said the changes are necessary to relieve overcrowding at some schools, low enrollment at others, while saving the district money. The new boundaries would go into effect for the next school year.

"We have to be able to look at the utilization of our schools," said Davis. "We have to be able to look at the course offerings at our schools as well. Being able to look at over-utilized schools, under-utilized schools, the distance that children transition to and from school every single day."

Some parents, however, have several concerns, including whether the plans are being rushed and unfairly impact minority communities.

"A lot of the minority schools are being affected by this rezoning of the schools," said Ashley Morrow, who attended the meeting at Middleton High School.

"I'm thinking more about how it's going to affect our whole entire community," added Margarita Novack, a mother-of-four who also went to the meeting at Middleton. "How is it better? How would they tell you that you're going to be better for our kids?"

The remaining eight in-person meetings are from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on the following days at the following high schools:

  • Sumner and Brandon on Jan. 10
  • Plant and Leto on Jan. 11
  • Gaither and Sickles on Jan. 12
  • Wharton and Bloomingdale on Jan. 13