Hillsborough schools superintendent says boundary changes are necessary; measure will save district millions

A day after Hillsborough County parents got their first look at the school district's next step in its boundary analysis process, Superintendent Addison Davis discussed why he believes it's necessary.

A consultant group leading the project said proposed boundary changes are based on feedback given in phase one and consider several factors like distance to school, current enrollment, preserving feeder patterns and financial savings to the district.

"I would challenge that this is the most aggressive plan that has been put in front of a school board — maybe ever," Davis said during a news conference Wednesday.

The goal is to make more efficient use of schools, as the group found many schools are overutilized or underutilized. Depending on which scenario is chosen, between 11,000 students and 24,000 could be rezoned into different schools.

RELATED: Hillsborough families get first look at school boundary drafts; thousands of students impacted

There are also 12 schools that could be partially or fully re-purposed, meaning some or all of the students on those campuses would be moved elsewhere to make way for new initiatives, such as an early learning center, military academy, or a program dedicated to newcomers to Tampa.

"This is the time to create these solutions," said Davis. "No one wants their current boundary to be touched and, in a perfect world, we wish we could do that. It's just not a decision we can make."

Davis said the district would save millions of dollars by spreading out students more evenly across the county.

Parents can now utilize an online web tool to input their address and see how they would be impacted. There is also an option to leave feedback and provide comments on each scenario. No decision is final and, based on the feedback, the scenarios could be revised before a final recommendation is made to the board.

From Jan. 9 to Jan. 13, there will be 10 in-person meetings that will be held at high schools across the county, where community members will be able to view boundary maps, submit feedback through the interactive tool, and speak with members from the HCPS and consultant project team.

The board is expected to vote on the boundary changes in its February meeting. The changes would go into effect next school year.

View the proposed changes here: www.hcps-boundary.org/map.