School district committee delays setting student boundaries for new high school

Dr. Joaquín García High School to open next August in western Lake Worth
A rendering of Dr. Joaquín García High School in western Lake Worth, Dec. 1, 2022 (2).jpg
Posted at 12:16 AM, Dec 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-09 08:43:38-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The School District of Palm Beach County is delaying plans to set student boundaries for its newest high school in 18 years.

On Thursday, the district's Advisory Boundary Committee began discussions on which students should attend Dr. Joaquin Garcia High School when it officially opens next fall on Lyons Road, just north of Lantana Road, right next to Woodlands Middle School.

After hearing several concern for more than five hours during a virtual meeting, the committee ultimately decided to hold off on recommending any proposed zoning map to Superintendent Mike Burke, and instead continue its discussions at a later meeting on Dec. 20.

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The school district said about 2,000 families could be impacted by the new high school.

In all three proposed maps, certain students from Palm Beach Central High School, John I. Leonard High School, Santaluces High School and Park Vista Community High School would be rezoned for Dr. Joaquin Garcia High School.

The rezoning is aimed at providing relief to several overcrowded schools.

Most committee members on Thursday were in favor of the first study, which offered the most relief, but was met with strong opposition from parents during public comment.

"I am completely against the school boundary changes proposed in this study, and after hearing your presentation tonight, this proposal will greatly affect and devastate many students in our district," parent Dana Demos said. "These are children. They are not game pieces. They're not pawns. They're not just numbers. The district disrupting their lives by moving so many children to and from so many different schools will affect their friendships, their lives, their social groups, sports groups, and could also possibly have long lasting effects on their education."

Once the committee makes its recommendations to Burke, the proposal will then head to the Palm Beach County School Board for final approval.

In addition to Dr. Joaquín García High School, the committee also discussed zoning for the new West Boynton Middle School on Acme Dairy Road in west Boynton Beach.

That proposed map, however, is a lot less complicated and impacts fewer schools.