About 100 parents flooded Stoneman Douglas High on Monday to protest proposed boundary changes that would send children from Parkland to schools as far as Deerfield and Pompano Beach.
The proposals, made by School Board member Abby Freedman, would reassign students coming from new developments in an area of Parkland known as the “Wedge.” The more than 1,000 homes planned for the area remain under construction.
“I believe that we’re going to be overcrowded in a very short period of time,” said Freedman, who defended her proposals as a way to prevent future boundary changes. “I’m giving [residents from the new developments] a home before they move in and not displacing everybody else who has already been here.”
Opponents rally against Parkland school boundary proposal
Under her proposals, only students who live in the “Wedge” would be shifted to schools in other cities.
Those assigned to Stoneman would instead attend underenrolled Coral Springs High and Blanche Ely High in Pompano Beach. Those assigned to Parkland’s Park Trails Elementary would move to Deerfield Park Elementary. Another proposal would reassign students from Parkland’s Westglades Middle to Forest Glen Middle in Coral Springs and Deerfield Middle.
But Monday, residents wore T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase “Neighborhood Kids = Neighborhood Schools” and vehemently opposed the changes.
“Please don’t kick me out of Parkland before the front door is put on my house,” said Wendy Stav, who recently bought a house in the Wedge. Freedman’s proposals would send her daughter to a school 17 miles away in Deerfield Beach. “We chose Parkland for a reason, we want to live and pray and play and shop in our community,” she said.
Parkland Mayor Michael Udine also spoke out against the proposals, calling them “short-sighted” and “divisive to the community.”
But Freedman cautioned that without a long-term solution, neighbors would soon be pitted against neighbors to fight for a spot in a Parkland school. With decaying and underenrolled school buildings and not enough money from the state to fix them, Freedman said the district was unlikely to build a new campus anytime soon.
Parents, however, said her proposals were the wrong answer.
“We never thought in our wildest dreams that our children would be in danger of being bused out of their neighborhood,” said parent Robin Lopatin.
Others broke out in chants to urge Freedman to take down her map proposals.
“We are here, we have a voice and we’re not going anywhere,” said Lopatin.
The school district also proposed its own maps that would shift students from Heron Heights to Park Trails Elementary, both in Parkland. School officials said Heron Heights, currently overenrolled by 75 students, will not be able to meet state-mandated class requirements.
The School Board will vote on the proposals in February.
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