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High School Rezoning

Some of the high schools in our area are becoming overcrowded, and so Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) is building a new high school to relieve some of the pressure. The area served by each of the high schools is therefore being redefined. This decision will not only affect our children’s education, but may also impact our property values.

The new high school, at the corner of Narcoossee Road and Tyson Road, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2009. Although it will mainly serve the Lake Nona area, whose children currently travel to Oak Ridge High School, incorporating part of the existing zones served by Colonial High School (which is currently attended by Vista Lakes’ children) or Cypress Creek High School, are also being considered (see Rezoning Maps).

Option 1: The current Oak Ridge High School zone would be split into two zones, with those living west of SR 436, Orlando International Airport, and the South Access Road continuing to attend Oak Ridge High School, while those living east of the boundary attend the new high school.

Impact on Vista Lakes: Children will continue to attend Colonial High School

Option 2: The current Oak Ridge High School zone would be split into two zones, as in Option 1, but part of the Colonial High School zone, including Vista Lakes, would also be included in the zone for the new high school. As a result, our children would continue their education with their friends from Odyssey Middle School, which come from Vista Lakes, Northlake Park and Hidden Oaks Elementary Schools.

Impact on Vista Lakes: Children will attend the new school

Option 3: The current Oak Ridge High School zone would be split into two zones, as in Option 1, but part of the Cypress Creek High School zone would also be included in the zone for the new high school. As a result, children living less than 1 mile from Cypress Creek High School would be made to travel 10 miles to the new high school.

Impact on Vista Lakes: Children will continue to attend Colonial High School

 

The following table shows the Performance Grades for the schools in the local area, including the "A" rated elementary school, "A" rated middle school, and "C" rated high school for which Vista Lakes is currently zoned.

Orange County Public Schools Performance Grades
School
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hidden Oaks Elementary
A
A
A
A
B
A
Northlake Park Elementary
A
A
A
A
A
A
Vista Lakes Elementary
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
A
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Odyssey Middle School
n/a
A
A
A
A
A
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Colonial High School
C
C
D
C
C
C
Cypress Creek High School
C
C
D
C
C
D
Oak Ridge High School
F
D
F
F
D
F
Source: www.ocps.net (*)

At the April 21st Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) High School Rezoning Rule Development Workshop, the OCPS Board came to a unanimous consensus to support Option #1 ("Lake Nona only"). This option leaves Vista Lakes zoned in the Colonial High School district.

Both Options 1 ("Lake Nona only") & 2 ("Lake Nona plus Vista Lakes") were discussed, while Option 3 ("Lake Nona plus Cypress Creek") was not really seriously considered, but through the entire meeting the Board was leaning towards Option 1. OCPS did receive 200 email in support of Option 2, but also received 220 in support of Option 1. There were only about a dozen members of the public in attendance, but the majority seemed to be Vista Lakes residents/Option 2 supporters. Three of the four people who addressed the Board also supported Option 2.

The main reason for the Board choosing Option 1 seemed to be the concern over the expected growth in the Lake Nona area. Rather than moving children from Colonial and then having to move them back when that growth occurs, OCPS would rather under utilize the new High School, with fewer students than usual for a new school, so that the expected growth can be accommodated later. (Although I expect that many of the employees at the Burnham Institute, VA Hospital, Medical School, and other spin-off businesses will/would live at Vista Lakes, particularly if it were zoned for the new High School).

Several points were raised by members of the public in support of Option 2. Most were rejected by OCPS, and some were hard to argue with:

Conversely, the main driving points seemed to be expected growth rates in High School registration (including those who would utilize the new school rather than the private school they currently use to avoid having to go to "low rated" public schools), and proximity to the school/alternative schools.

The Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) Board met on May 27th to conduct the final vote for the High School Rezoning Plan #39-H-SE-2. The Board voted unanimously in favor of Option 1, the option unanimously chosen at the previously held rule development workshop. As a result, Vista Lakes will remain zoned for Colonial High School instead of the new High School on Narcoossee Road in Lake Nona.

 

Jerry Harris interviewed on
Channel 13 News
Channel 13 News

 

(*) Clicking these links will open a new window displaying information from outside the VLCA web site and therefore the VLCA cannot be held responsible for the content displayed.

 
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