simon says

When Alachua County School’s Carlee Simon became superintendent, the first task on her agenda?was to rezone the school district.?

However, due to the expectation that some $90 million in federal money is coming to the county school system, she’s shelving that task ! at least for another year, if not longer.

Instead, she’s shifting focus into reorganizing the school system’s administration, with her stated aim of ensuring that the school system is ready and able to spend that influx of money efficiently.

The school rezoning was supposed to launch in?fall 2022 and was meant to tackle the problem disrupting the Alachua County school system: a number of schools in the western part of the county are over capacity, while others, mostly on its east side,?are underused.

It’s not comfortable for students, nor is it cost-efficient.

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Spokeswoman Jackie Johnson said?the federal money changed the district’s priorities.

When Simon was chosen?as interim superintendent in December, district officials didn’t know that they were in for a $90 million windfall.

“That is really a game-changer for us and that’s something that we are going to need to be tackling, really, until the money runs out by September of 2023,” Johnson said.?

Johnson said she couldn’t give a definite time for when the rezoning process would begin because it depends on how long creating a?strategic plan and molding the administration to it will take.?

“The new strategic plan would occur over this next school year and that would certainly have to be completed before we move on to rezoning,” she said.?

, such as magnet programs?and incorporating new programs?such as a?dual-language immersion?program that will give students the opportunity to learn two languages as early as elementary school, a STEAM whole school magnet program that focuses on science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics, and a new program piloting in the fall at Loften High in collaboration with?Santa Fe College that will focus on young parents of schoolchildren who want to enter a career certification program.?

Those parents would take classes at Loften High School around 5 p.m. and the district would transport their children?to Loften when classes let out.?

“So the parent is professionally developing themselves, their child is getting the enrichment support,” Simon said. “And the other thing that’s not there is we as a school district are developing relationships with this family. Things we cannot see. The things we aren’t quite measuring very well right now. So we are forming relationships.”?

The plan will also focus on improving equity and community engagement.?

Terwilliger Elementary school is the only school that is set for a move this fall.

Students from Terwilliger will be moved to the new elementary school, called Elementary School I, near Southwest 122nd Street.?

“We will be disposing of the Terwilliger property in some way, shape or form, which will be a significant money savings, will also save on the operational cost of opening a brand new school,” Johnson said.

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