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Odyssey Middle’s students would go to these 5 schools


Some 1,900 students  in Boynton Beach and its suburbs will be assigned to five other middle schools in the region next fall after Odyssey Middle School closes in June, according to a tentative plan to be presented to the Palm Beach County boundary advisory committee tonight. 

 

The school board voted in July to close the 16-year-old school after years of faltering enrollment. The campus will be leased instead to South Tech Academy and Prep charter schools. 

Even though 1,900 students live in Odyssey’s boundary, many attend charter schools. Odyssey’s current enrollment is 685. When planning boundary changes, staff anticipated some students would stay in their charters. 

 Staff projects 836 student would be involved in the shuffle to begin next fall.  The majority of Odyssey’s would-be students, 378 of the estimated 836, will head for Congress Middle School. Carver, Christa McAuliffe, Lantana and Woodlands middle schools would each receive more than 100 students. 

 

Built west of the city limits in 2001 to relieve crowding at nearby schools, Odyssey readily filled seats in its early years. Its boundary lines stretched from the coast to the gated communities west of Florida’s Turnpike with the intention of building a naturally integrated enrollment. But by the beginning of this decade, white middle-class families began to leave the school. 

 

Last year, more than 600 students zoned for Odyssey opted to attend charter schools instead, with most of them going to Somerset Canyons. 

 

Even with the additional students, none of the receiving schools would be filled to capacity. Christa McAuliffe would come closest to that mark, growing from 85 percent to 96 percent, according to the district’s boundary office numbers. 

 

Each of the five receiving schools would also see their rates of poverty among students go down by a couple of percentage points with the influx of new students, boundary staff calculate. 

The proposal will be reviewed by the district’s advisory committee, which includes representatives from the various city governments and appointees from school board members. They consider various factors, primarily capacity at the school, but also the school’s economic make-up, feeder patterns – in this case from middle to high school - as well as distances and drive times for students from home to campus. 

 

When the committee settles on a boundary plan, it is then taken to meetings where people in the neighborhoods affected can comment without the time limits imposed during a regular boundary committee meeting. The committee can send the plans back to be redrawn if it chooses and then a final proposal must be approved by two votes of the Palm Beach County School Board.


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