BOCA RATON, Fla. — A boom in population across Palm Beach County is the reason the school district has approved a new redistricting map.
With it comes boundary changes for attendance at certain schools, especially in Boca Raton where a new elementary school is set to open next year.
The new elementary school in Boca Raton is currently referred to as "05-C" and will be located at 3300 North Military Trail next to Don Estridge High Tech Middle School.
The school will open in August 2022 to relieve overcrowding at nearby schools. Construction on the new school began in June.
Which students will be shifted to the new school is still being discussed by the school district.
Proposed attendance zone changes are in the works for five Boca Raton elementary schools:
- Addison Mizner
- J.C. Mitchell
- Whispering Pines
Click here to view the proposed boundaries for the new elementary school and the study.
"They are working now to relieve the overcrowding for the elementary and the middle [schools], but I don't see any plans for the high schools," said parent Janen Moyer-Pesso.
Her children attend Boca Raton High School — one of the four high schools in the district with more than 3,000 students based on October enrollment numbers.
She said with new housing units going up in the city, and more space for elementary and middle students, it's only a matter of time before the high school is overwhelmed.
"By the time that becomes a major concern, my kids will probably be done, but it is a concern for my neighbors and my friends," Moyer-Pesso said.
Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer said the school district is taking action ahead of the future growth.
"The new housing that's being constructed really isn't contributing much to the growth in the school-aged population," Singer said.
"It's more younger families moving into single-family neighborhoods and single-family homes. That's why we were ahead of this issue to get a new school for Boca Raton several years ago."
But Boca Raton is not the only city in the county where the population is booming.
New housing communities are going up all across Palm Beach Gardens and Westlake near Seminole Ridge High School.
"We're very aware about which populations are shifting, so with our team at the district," said District 2 school board member Alexandria Ayala. "[We are discussing] where growth has occurred, here is where it hasn't. We can plan ahead."
Ayala, whose district recently became a Hispanic majority, said the new redistricting map will open the door to putting resources where they are needed.
"We do have some schools in the pipeline that are going to be built. One of those will be relieving areas like Palm Beach Central and John I. Leonard, which is in District 2 and my alma mater, so I'm excited about that," Ayala said.
A virtual meeting for the Boca Raton-area schools was held Thursday to discuss the attendance zoning and boundaries for the new school.
There will be at least one more meeting for community input before a vote and recommendation goes to Superintendent Mike Burke.