Parents concerned with proposed zoning for new Boca Raton elementary school

An artist's rendering of _O5C Elementary School_ in Boca Raton, which is scheduled to open in August of 2022.jpg
Posted at 3:17 PM, Jan 27, 2022

BOCA RATON, Fla. — A new elementary school in Boca Raton that hasn't even opened yet is already creating controversy, as many are taking issue with the boundaries for the school.

O5C Elementary School — a temporary name — is a state-of-the-art school that's opening this fall on Military Trail.

It's expected to bring more than 900 students from around the area, relieving overcrowding at Calusa Elementary School about two miles away.

"I'm super excited for it," said mom Lauren Votano.

But the School District of Palm Beach County's Advisory Boundary Committee is still looking at where these zones will be.

The committee released a map that shows many neighborhoods farther from the school will be moving to O5C Elementary School. But some parents don’t like this study and are now in favor of study three, which brings neighborhoods closer to the new school, attending that one.

Two main plans are being considered. The first study shows the zone going farther north, while the other shows the boundary is more compact surrounding the school.

"No child has to drive past in elementary school to get to the one that their zoned for," Votano said.

Votano said she doesn't think the first study makes any sense.

"You're breaking up neighborhoods that are really close together," Votano said.

Votano said that in the first study, Calusa Elementary School would mainly have students from single-family homes, while O5C would have mainly multi-family homes.

"I want my children to go to school with a really diverse mix from the community not with one extreme or another," Votano said.

The school has barely broken ground, but the issues have already arisen.

In an email to the committee, one resident wrote that she disagrees with the third study because the Santa Barbara community would be in the new school zone. She said in part that "many residents moved to Boca and paid to live in Santa Barbara because it was a Calusa-zoned community. Rezoning Santa Barbara with other communities not at the same caliber will hurt the values of their homes."

"I would hope as a resident of the city and someone who grew up here that our elected officials are trying to make every school the best that it can be and doing the right thing for every citizen," Votano said.

The School District of Palm Beach County's Advisory Boundary Committee is meeting Thursday to discuss the new study. If there is no resolution, a new meeting may have to take place.