Spot rezoning of four local elementary schools begins with School Board workshop

Press release from Alachua County Public Schools

ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. – To reduce significant overcrowding at three local elementary schools, Alachua County Public Schools is beginning a process called “spot rezoning.”

Chiles, Hidden Oak, and Meadowbrook are all well over capacity, and new development near those schools will be adding to the problem. Meanwhile, there is quite a bit of space available at the new Terwilliger Elementary School campus, which opened in 2020.

The goal of the spot rezoning is to address both the overcrowding and under-enrollment by revising each school’s attendance zone. The new attendance zones would take effect in the upcoming school year (2023-24).

The district has done spot rezoning previously, including as recently as last year, when neighborhoods zoned for an overcrowded Idylwild Elementary School were rezoned to the revitalized Metcalfe Elementary School campus for the current school year.  

A comprehensive rezoning of all district schools is planned to begin later this year. However, neighborhoods impacted by the spot rezoning this year will not be included in the comprehensive rezoning.

The spot rezoning process will begin with a School Board workshop on Wednesday, March 8, at 6 p.m. at the Alachua County Public Schools District Office (620 E. University Avenue). Like all Board workshops, it will be open to the public and will include a period for citizen input. The Board is expected to discuss potential criteria for redrawing attendance zones, a timeline, and other issues.

The district plans to hold special community meetings during the process to share information and gather public input, and future School Board meetings will include opportunities for citizens to offer comments. They can also provide input through email at spotrezoning@gm.sbac.edu.

A website with information about spot rezoning that will be regularly updated is under development. It will include a schedule of public meetings related to spot rezoning and other information. 

No map or maps will be drawn until after the public has had an opportunity to share input. But any map(s) that are developed will also be posted on that site. A link will be shared as soon as the website is available. 

  • Look at a map (I use Google), and you will see the imbalance of schools serving the fastest growing parts of the county!

    Does the AC BOCC, AC School Board, and of course the GNV CC ever talk planning with each other? I doubt it! They are all so busy spending taxpayer money they don’t have time for planning!

    There is never consideration given to growth and the infrastructure to service it!

    • Individual, really? People do have the freedom to choose where they live. That freedom is usually based on what they can afford, kind of like buying a new car or home. You don’t buy more than you can afford…unless you expect the government to forgive your debt, (see student loans). The City and County have a major impact on that affordability as many of us have seen.

      Government doesn’t dictate where a person lives, a person’s financial means usually does. Spot rezoning isn’t a way to maintain control, in this instance, it’s a feeble attempt at trying to “hide” the problems that exist within the public school system. The “new” Terwilliger is under-enrolled. The SBAC wanted other government bodies to pay for transportation from the east side of Gainesville to the west side to create the perception of “equity” of resources. What parent wants their kid to ride a bus for an hour when they had a school that previously was a 5 minute walk? It made the liberal majority “feel good” that the impoverished kids were getting a brand new school because it, the SBAC, thought students would be more motivated to succeed if they had a shiny new school. Hate to be the voice of common sense and reality here but it doesn’t work that way.

      They still haven’t figured it out, just because you change a child’s learning environment doesn’t mean a child will be successful. It starts in the home and until the SBAC, (some have), address the problem at it’s source, the trend will continue no matter the number of new schools we build.

      My suggestion, take a field trip – word on the street is the brand new school has been trashed by some students who have no appreciation for the facilities they’ve been given. Then again, what else should we expect given the variables and the lack of discipline that exists, especially in Alachua County.

      • No parent is going to want their kid going to this ghetto school. And let’s be real, that’s exactly what it is. People pay to live in areas with good schools and they won’t take kindly to having their child send to an inferior school on the “wrong” side of town.

        • Mr. Smith, that couldn’t be true.

          The liberal voting majority would then be exposed as being hypocritical wouldn’t they? Don’t tell me they actually want school ‘choice’ for their kids. I’m guessing that’s why those who can afford anywhere in the county to buy/build a home didn’t choose to do so on that ‘wrong’ side of town? All this time some have led us to believe it was only the politicians who were hypocrites.

          In a perfect world there would be no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ side of town. The things that occur on both sides are accepted or interpreted by those who live there as being either ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Until a community takes a stand and says ‘that’s not right,’ the same habits will continue.

        • I’m sorry to inform you that the “wrong” side of town around the new Terwilliger is nothing but ghetto. There are houses in the $600’s. Most of the students that you are referring to ghetto probably live now closer to Chiles than to Terwilliger, but still attend Terwilliger, while some of those neighborhoods 5 minutes away are zoned to Meadobrook or Hidden Oak and this doesn’t make any sense at all. Yes, there are some behavior problems and that is why we need rezoning. I’m sorry you consider a Magnet School as an inferior school. As a teacher there, I can tell you that we put our heart and soul out daily. As a parent, I understand why you would hesitate to place your child at Terwilliger. Again, I understand because of behavior problems. The District needs to put in place more consequences for this kind of actions, instead of ignoring a problem growing in our schools. Even “A” schools as Buchholz encounters more problems than Eastside that is in a less favorable area of our town, but this is an issue for another conversation.

    • They think the solution is to bus the students to half empty east side schools. It’s maddening that SBAC won’t collect impact fees from developers to build schools that serve that area and that the BOCC knows this and keeps on approving developments

  • And then suddenly, six more westside charter schools were formed. Problem solved.

  • I’m not sure how or why the rezoning of Idylwild was done this year. That had to be the worst thing to happen at Metcalfe. There’s lack of teachers– not enough to teach many at risk kids at Metcalfe and more fights than ever. No reason a 5th grade class should have a substitute all year in a very crucial learning year. Idylwild was revitalized and open this school year, why wasn’t those kids sent back???? Let’s be honest, the neighborhood the kids were from that happened to be “rezoned” was Sugarhill– Mostly an African American low-income neighborhood. And if we could take a guess, it’d be that no one wanted “ghetto” kids on a new campus. Yall skipped right by Joseph Williams Elementary and sent them to Metcalfe. Make it make sense. The rezonings aren’t meant to stand for anything good in Alachua County. The only reason kids are at Williams Elementary is for the gifted program, right in the middle of another “low class neighborhood” right ? I know those parents of most don’t live close to Williams Elementary School. School choice is a choice!! That’s WHY MOST were at Metcalfe, it is an underrated school. Great staff and principal who cares about the molding of their students and campus.

    Wish Alachua county would be held accountable for a lot of low blows that they make seem so positive.

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