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West Orange Times & Observer Monday, Jan. 11, 2016 3 years ago

Relief high rezoning maps unveiled

OCPS staff revealed four options to rezone West Orange High and its relief school at a community meeting Jan. 11.
by: Zak Kerr Staff Writer/Reporter


To download a PDF of all four option maps, click here.

The first option would have West Orange High territory made mostly of Winter Garden land.

ORANGE COUNTY  Orange County Public Schools Director of Student Enrollment Carol McGowin hosted what she referred to as Step 6 in a 12-step process for OCPS rezoning – a community meeting Jan. 11 at the Ronald Blocker Educational Leadership Center in Orlando.

A throng of involved parents might have felt puzzled at being seemingly only halfway to finalized rezoning, but the OCPS Board public hearing and vote on rezoning West Orange High and its relief school – March 8 at RBELC – is Step 10.

In this community meeting, McGowin and staff reviewed various figures pertaining to four options of maps for West Orange County high schools.

The final two options did not please OCPS personnel, she said.

The second option has a subtle difference of children within State Road 429, Tilden Road and County Road 535 attending the relief school.

“We said, 'Ouch,' to this one,” McGowin said of Option 3, which involves a relatively simple division running west from Seventh Avenue in Gotha almost to State Road 429 at Windermere Road. The border goes southwest along S.R. 429 all the way to the end of the boundary straight west along McKinney Road, with the exception of the area north of Tilden Road and west of County Road 535.

Option 4 strays from Option 3 only in making current West Orange High students east of S.R. 429 and north of Roberson Road pupils at Ocoee High School instead.

“This is about the ugliest rezoning option I've ever seen,” McGowin said of Option 4.

Thus, it seems the rezoning of West Orange High and its relief school will hinge on which school the Board thinks a small pocket of homes near the center of the current area should attend.

Option 3 is easier to describe by mostly following State Road 429, but it is unlikely for selection.

Option 2 would divide West Orange High from its relief school via a zigzag moving west from Lake Rhea to McKinnon Road but north of Lake Roberts Court, after which the boundary would follow McKinnon Road to Lake Butler Boulevard. The divider goes west on that road until C.R. 535, which it moves north along until it follows Stoneybrook West Parkway to its end at Avalon Road. West of that intersection, virtually all houses south of Lake Avalon's northern shore would be zoned for the relief school.

Option 1 differs from Option 2 only in excluding the land bounded by S.R. 429, Tilden Road and C.R. 535 from rezoning to the relief school.

Most local parents at the meeting, such as a few from Bridgewater Middle School, indicated a preference for their children to remain zoned for West Orange High. McGowin said Bridgewater Middle School students likely would stay together -- probably for the relief school -- but some elementary and middle schools could be split between West Orange High and the relief school.

Option 4 would involve Ocoee High annexing some West Orange High territory, but staff is least fond of this option.

Some parents questioned whether future development – booming in Horizon West – was among considerations for rezoning. A few remained skeptical of McGowin's affirmation that future construction was among many major factors that determined map lines.

Although a slim possibility of affecting Ocoee High's zone remains, Olympia High's territory will not change in this rezoning, McGowin said.

The next meeting is the School Board Rule Development Workshop, scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Jan. 28 with the same location: 445 W. Amelia St., Orlando, Florida, 32801.

Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].

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