LIVE COVERAGE TONIGHT
Then, at 6 p.m., the Daily News will stream live a meeting about school rezoning in Collier County from Golden Gate High School. Area students plan to attend the meeting to speak out against the plan designed to comply with the classsize amendment. Watch it live and join the discussion at naplesnews.com/livevideo. Click here to learn more about the school rezoning issue »
NAPLES — Their reasons may differ, but they all agree on one thing: The residents of the Berkshire Lakes neighborhood don’t want their community to be re-zoned from the Naples High School District to the Lely High School district.
Members of the Berkshire Lakes neighborhood voiced their concerns and opinions about the Collier County School District’s recent decision to rezone the county’s high schools at a meeting Tuesday night at the community’s clubhouse.
The district wants to rezone 210 students — 154 from Naples High School and 56 from Golden Gate High School — to Lely High School next year. The Collier County School Board voted to rezone its schools in order to meet regulations under the state’s class size amendment. The School Board decided against purchasing portable classrooms for schools that would need extra space because they would cost $3 million. The district must meet the minimum class sizes by fall 2010.
Many of the neighborhood’s residents agreed the amount of students attending Naples High School by choice, out-of-zone requests or illegally, is a problem.
According to figures presented by the district, Naples High School gets about 50 students through choice and out-of-zone requests, which is a third of the students that will be rezoned from Naples High to Lely. That figure does not include the number of students who might be using a family member or a close friend’s home address as their own address so they can attend their school of choice.
“It is wrong to give that choice and then rezone a bunch of other kids,” said Collier County Commissioner Tom Henning, who attended the meeting. “We all are parents before anything else, and that’s what I am. I am a parent of a 7-year-old child, who goes to Osceola (Elementary) School that is according to the (rezoning) maps going to go to Golden Gate Elementary.”
The community members wondered why the district is disrupting several school zones instead of one, and why they are not using the vacant portable at Calusa Park Elementary School.
“Let’s move portables rather than lives,” said Bert Cleland, a Berkshire Lakes resident who helped run the meeting.
Henning — who lives in The Shores, a community located across Santa Barbara Boulevard from Berkshire Lakes — urged the two neighborhoods to work together in their effort to change the proposed rezoning.
“I think we ought to work together,” Commissioner Henning said.
Other Berkshire residents were concerned that the property value of their homes would drop due the rezoning, but they concluded that the Collier County School Board members probably would not consider property values in their decision.
“One of our personal concerns is just property value,” said Mark Snider, a Berkshire Lakes resident, who has a 15-year-old son attending Naples High School. Snider said he lives in a family-sized home with a big back yard that would most likely be sold to another family.
“Since it’s going to have a real impact on people, and I don’t care how you shake it and bake it: this is pretty serious,” Snider said.