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Parents, students question first rezoning proposal at CCPS meeting

Overcapacity elementary school leading to new building to ease enrollment but, with it, new boundaries
Parents, students question first rezoning proposal at CCPS meeting
Posted at 10:15 PM, Feb 13, 2024

NAPLES, Fla. — As the school year's already halfway over, public school districts will start thinking about next year.

The Collier County Public School district has felt the effects of the rapid population growth. Now CCPS is tasked with trying to fix the overflow of some of their elementary schools. However, many families in North Naples on the west side of I-75 feel they are being pushed aside.

"So people when we talk about this with them, they keep saying this isn't you can't come at this from an emotional aspect, and at the end of the day, it is an emotional aspect because we're talking about our children," said Stephanie Jonas, a parent at Veterans Memorial Elementary School.

The school district tells Fox 4, that more than 1,400 elementary-aged students now face the unknown as they work through this rezoning.

"If the problem is out east, why is everyone on the west being the most affected?" asked Jonas. "River Stone and Stone Creek are two communities across from Laurel Oak Elementary that are now being pushed to the to our school, Veterans, which in turn is pushing us out."

The school district reports Laurel Oak is more than 180 percent overcapacity and with Elementary L in the works, they hope it will ease that stress.

Collier County Schools prepares for new elementary school (fox4now.com)

However, it means new boundaries for elementary students across North Naples.

Nicole Geraghty, CO-VP of the PTO, said she bought her house based on the boundaries of putting her kids at Veterans Memorial Elementary.

"We are part of a community and one that we do not want to leave," said Benjamin Geraghty, Veterans Memorial Elementary student.

February's school board meeting heard from many vocal parents on the topic, but according to the CCPS Chair, Kelly Lichter, this is just the start and they will keep holding these meetings to get more opinions.

"No decision has been made, so when you're coming up here and you're saying we're not listening; we're not thinking about the kids; that is absolutely the furthest from the truth," said Lichter.

The next open house is set for February 20 at North Naples Middle School.

For more information click here.

The decision on the rezoning is set to be voted on at the March school board meeting.

Fox 4 will keep you up to date on the decision.