Coral Springs Challenges School Board’s Rezoning Plan: Allege Inequalities and Neglect of Local Schools

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By Bryan Boggiano

The city commission met with School Board Vice Chair Debra Hixon at their Wednesday commission workshop meeting, expressing frustrations with the school district’s handling of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School rezoning process and alleged lack of attention to area schools.

This follows a February 7 meeting where the school board approved a plan to rezone 351 students from Coral Springs, currently zoned for MSD, to Coral Glades High School. The move is meant to alleviate overcrowding.

Students who live between Royal Palm Boulevard and Wiles Road, west of University Drive and east of Coral Springs Drive, would be affected.

Commissioners Joy Carter and Nancy Metayer Bowen urged Hixon and the school board to delay the rezoning process.

“I am begging you not to move forward with this process on March 29, these schools are not equal, and it’s going to take a long time to make these schools equal,” said Carter.

Metayer Bowen expanded on Carter’s comments, stating students at Coral Glades may not have the same opportunities as students at MSD due to an uneven distribution of resources.

“Because of this reassignment, it’s going to bring more inequalities within our school, and [our residents] are hoping we are going to be able to address that,” she said. 

In their remarks, Mayor Scott Brook and Vice Mayor Shawn Cerra disagreed with the argument that over-enrollment at MSD makes it unsafe, considering countywide security upgrades since 2018.

“I don’t see the rationale, 100 to 300 [students]…changing it from a safe to an unsafe school,” Cerra, a former principal, said. 

They also argued for the school board to look at the rezoning process regionally rather than only impacting students in Coral Springs. They stated this would address issues related to overcrowding countywide and present more equitable solutions.

The commission also expressed frustration with how the rezoning process pitted Coral Springs and Parkland against each other.

{The rezoning process] was put on residents, it was put on cities,” said Commissioner Joshua Simmons. “I thought that was wildly unfair.”

Metayer Bowen raised concerns about the quality of other schools within the city, including James Hunt Elementary School, saying the school board is not adequately distributing resources.

Some concerns Metayer-Bowen expressed about James Hunt Elementary were a necessary repainting, the need for a library, and the fact the school does not have a playground. Simmons brought up Coral Springs High School, which he stated had issues with mold and asbestos. Other unspecified schools, he said, had reported pest problems.

“We spent all this time on the boundary issue that we were blindsided by…and [we feel] our schools aren’t being seen,” he said. “We don’t feel like we’re getting that support from the school board.” 

In response, Hixon said even though she voted for the C4 proposal, the current rezoning plan, she would have been okay with delaying the rezoning decision for another year and reviewing all information again. Hixon said she voted on C4 following conversations with staff and community members.

The C4 proposal takes into account various guidelines and considerations.

While her initial concerns dealt with the number of students on free and reduced lunch in the rezoning process, Hixon said she understands how reassignment disproportionately affects Black and lower-income students.

“It doesn’t make sense for the students or the school,” Hixon said. “I don’t think it’s fair to the students…if they end up going to coral glades, now they’re not gonna have a choice of their classes; they’re gonna get what’s left.”

Hixon endorsed discussing any rezoning strategically, saying what happens in Coral Springs affects the county. She also condemned any divisions between Coral Springs and Parkland, saying people in the communities are “better than that.”

“It’s hard to watch what is happening; it bothers me a lot,” she said.

Simmons stated that while Hixon is only one member out of nine, he hopes she brings the city’s comments to the board.

“I want someone to bring our concerns forward in these meetings,” he said. ” We want someone to put our concerns out there. That hasn’t happened.”
The school board his holding a public hearing on March 29, followed by a final vote on the matter on April 12.

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Bryan Boggiano

Bryan Boggiano
A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan is pursuing his masters in geosciences at Florida International University. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.

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