School Rezoning to Affect Magnet Programs
They are popular programs that for the past 15 years has drawn students from all over the county. Now the business of the Alachua County School Board is threatening to change where students will be studying business.
The School Board has faced some contentious opposition to rezoning its high schools now the fate of two magnet academies is on the line. At the center of the controversy is Buchholz High School and which students will be able to attend.
Students who are rezoned won't be able to attend the two magnet programs. As senior Lucy Sapp gives the tour of the command center for the Academy of Entrepreneurship, she explains, "Well here as you can see is kind of a mess is our corporate center where all the executive officers this is our CEO's desk our CFO's desk."
Some Buchholz seniors can say they've been the chief executive officer and chief financial officer of a business. Nearly 400 students in the academies of entrepreneurship and finance learn the mechanics of running a business. They start first with their school store.
Clare Rumsey, also a senior, in the Academy of Entrepreneurship who helps manage the school store, "I've learned so much from the experience that I've decided to study international business in college."
"Director of the Academy of Entrepreneurship, Donna Martin echoes the common feeling among teachers and Buchholz parents and administrators, isn't alone, she says many of her classmates in the magnet program plan to do the same. Students come from all over the county, but school rezoning will mean that students who aren't zoned for Buchholz will not be able to attend. Rachel Rohlman says she and her sister are expecting their younger brother to join them next year.If this goes into effect he won't have the opportunity to go here," says Rohlman who is not zoned for Buchholz."There are students in other zones who want this opportunity too."
Since its inception in 1993 students in this program have had the chance to get hands on experience and had opportunities for scholarships no far fewer students will have that chance. The school board says that over-enrollment is the reason for re-zoning and shouldn't limit student's opportunities.
Spokesperson for the Alachua County School Board, Jackie Johnson says,
"Keep in mind business courses are available at all of our high schools."
Parents may not go for that, but Johnson says it was the best compromise, and adds "It was suggested at the public forum to move the magnet programs we've chosen the less disruptive option. And that is to leave the program at the school allow the students from outside the school who are currently there to stay and we'll continue to provide transportation but any entering 9th grader would have to be from the Buchholz zone."
And Martin agrees that the magnet school will survive though will be smaller in size,
"If we can't take in students from out of zone naturally we'll be smaller but it's still a very viable program."
The parents have had three informal opportunities thus far to air their concerns. Superintendent Dr. Dan Boyd will make a formal recommendation on the 15th.
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