‘We’re overcapacity at Newberry Elementary’: Parents want in on ‘spot zoning’ as some ACPS face capacity issues

More than half of elementary ACPS have 90% or more capacity of students.
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 11:03 PM EDT
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NEWBERRY, Fla. (WCJB) - Newberry Elementary School is one of the 37 public schools in Alachua County that is facing overcrowding, according to school district data.

The school board is considering spot re-zoning and some parents are calling for Newberry Elementary to be included.

“My middle child is in 4th grade and she actually has lunch at 9:32 in the morning,” shared parent Karla Hernandez Ramos. “When she gets home although she gets a snack at EDEP, she is starving.”

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Students in 3rd grade and under who attend Hidden Oak, Chiles, and Meadow Brook elementary schools may be transferred to Terwilliger this August because of overcrowding issues. Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe has previously asked the school board to consider schools in his region for the 2024-2025 school year.

“Newberry Elementary school has the most overcapacity of any elementary school in Alachua County” share Mayor Marlowe. “It’s at 141-142%.”

Hernandez said her fifth grader actually goes to Oak View Middle because Newberry Elementary is over capacity.

“Who wants their 5th grader with 8th graders?” stated Hernandez. “There is a complete disconnect in the child’s age and development at those ages.”

Other parents are calling for a more comprehensive zoning plan as their children’s schools are also overcrowded. Alachua County Public School officials said this comprehensive plan has been in the works for years, but the pandemic and elections affected the process.

“When you’re redrawing school zone boundaries, you’re also talking about how big the schools are, new facilities, new programs, so it’s hard to limit it to just one thing when you’re talking about something as interconnected,” shared ACPS spokesperson, Jackie Johnson. “That is something that we’ve been talking about for quite some time.”

School board members review zoning proposals and parent input next Thursday.

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