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Board members: Halt of new school creates better opportunities

Lee County Schools
Posted at 4:28 PM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 13:08:55-05

ESTERO, Fla. — The decision to stop construction on a multi-million dollar school in Estero has school board members like Gwynetta Gittens saying it was the right decision for the district.

The Lee County School Board unanimously passed the decision to stop construction Monday night.

After looking more closely at the projected numbers of families living in the area, Gittens told Fox 4 that she learned there were not enough families living in the area to warrant a new school.

"The growth of the area in Estero and Bonita are mostly retirements and it has been that way forever. But as they are building new houses...the more expensive house is, the lower the number of children," said Gittens.

In fact, it was Gittens who at Monday night's board meeting, made the motion to stop construction altogether.

Now that it passed, she says the board should look at moving around funds to help our schools that need it the most.

"For $240,000...not $2 million... that would hire two full-time subs at four or five of our highest-need middle schools in the east zone until the end of the year,” said Gittens.

She says hiring more substitute teachers will eliminate having to rely on different teachers to cover other classrooms.

Gittens told Fox 4 this will not only decrease stress but also allow teachers to focus on their lesson plans and provide a better experience for students in the classroom.

The other piece she would like to see addressed is moving students out of mobile-unit classrooms that were meant to be temporary locations.

The Lee County School Board unanimously voted to stop construction but says that doesn't mean a school couldn’t be built in the future.

moving forward, the district says they will continue to review projected student numbers on a yearly basis.