Orange County Public Schools’ proposed capital budget includes funding for six planned schools in West Orange. District officials also recommend a second Horizon West high school, to open in fall 2022.
Orange County Public Schools’ draft of its proposed 2018-19 capital budget includes funding for six planned schools in the West Orange area.
As currently written, the proposed tentative capital budget totals $1.04 billion — a slight decrease from last year’s $1.07 billion.
This year’s capital budget appropriates 10.5% for additional schools. Of the six upcoming schools receiving funding this year, one is a middle school, three are elementary schools and two are high schools.
One of the projects, Site 113-H-W-4, is a high school that will be in Village F of Horizon West. Because of the area’s rapid growth, the Facilities Department requested the Orange County School Board to accelerate the construction timeline for Site 113 during a School Board work session held June 7.
The school now will be opening in fall 2022 — the same time as the planned relief school for Dr. Phillips and Freedom high schools.
“We were already planning on opening a high school to relieve Dr. Phillips and Freedom high schools, Site 80 … but Horizon West has been growing so fast that we have now, as of last week, gone to the (School) Board asking them to budget for a second high school opening that year,” said Lauren Roth, an OCPS media spokeswoman. “Originally, (the school) was in the 10-year (capital improvement) plan, but now, it’s been moved to the five-year (capital improvement) plan … and a five-year shift is a big deal.”
The proposed tentative budget also plans to fund an expansion of the digital curriculum, replacement of older school buses and portables, comprehensive renovations to existing school sites, and the addition of sunshades for playgrounds and tot lots.
The School Board will hold public hearings regarding the proposed tentative budget on July 31 and a public hearing on the adopted budget on Sept. 11.