School District of Palm Beach County, City of Boca Raton and Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce officials met recently to discuss the good news and challenges about growth in the greater Boca Raton Community. The good news is more families are choosing the City as their home – a good problem to have in almost all cases, with the exception of student growth in the City’s high performing, A-rated schools. Many Boca Raton schools are approaching or have already exceeded 100 percent capacity, accelerating the need for District and City officials to reassess the urgency of need for more space and more schools.
Taking into consideration the best use of available resources, the best interests of students and families, and sensitivity to community concerns of traffic flow and preserved lands, School Board Member Frank Barbieri, Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie, Boca Chamber President Troy McLellan, and Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa, Ed.D., identified potential solutions to the city’s growing need for more capacity in the City’s schools during a joint meeting.
Potential Solutions Include:
Accelerate the construction of elementary school 05-C on donated land from the City. This school was originally planned to begin construction in 2022. Pending School Board approval, the new school would be constructed at the same time as the new Verde K-8, with a planned opening in 2020 as an elementary school that will grow to a K-8 as students transition to sixth grade. The City passed a resolution brought forward by Councilman and CRA Chair Scott Singer on January 23, to commit to donating land for this purpose.
Once open, Elementary School 05-C will be the temporary home for Addison Mizner students while Addison Mizner is rebuilt. The District will also continue to explore the use of the Sugar Sand Park area as a potential location for the new Addison Mizner School that would allow its expansion to a K-8. This new plan provides the District more time to explore the potential for this location and to mitigate any concerns of the community about the site, including concerns about traffic from West Camino Real and congestion on Military Trail.
Other steps to increase capacity in the City’s schools include:
- A modular classroom addition at Spanish River High School
- Modular classroom additions to Calusa Elementary School, Eagles Landing and Omni Middle Schools
This plan will provide critical relief to the City’s growing schools and minimize the transition many students will make during their K-12 experience to just one, from middle school to high school. The movement to K-8 schools is gaining popularity nationwide, as a growing body of research suggests student performance is significantly impacted as a result of a transition from an elementary school to middle school.