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PBC school board reassigns students of soon-to-close Odyssey Middle


The Palm Beach County School Board gave final approval Wednesday to a plan to reassign 1,900 Odyssey Middle students to new schools when the school closes this summer.

The reassignment plan for the closing Boynton Beach school was approved unanimously without debate, the final procedural step in what will be the first closure of a traditional county public school in more than 25 years.

For years, Odyssey has struggled to fill even half of its seats, leading the school board to vote last year to close it.

But redirecting Odyssey’s students promises to crowd other campuses — the nearest middle school in the area is almost full and three others aren’t far behind.

The most significant impact will be felt at Christa McAuliffe Middle, driving enrollment at that school to more than 1,480 students in a campus built for about 1,270. Congress, Lantana and Woodlands would see enrollment pushed to 90 percent of capacity or higher. Only Carver Middle in Delray had significant available space.

The crowding would likely be temporary because the district plans to build a middle school in the growing western suburbs next to Sunset Palms Elementary in the next two or three years.

Odyssey, which sits in Boynton Beach west of Military Trail, had room for nearly 1,500 students, but more than 600 chose to go to nearby charter schools instead. Many others found routes via a choice or gifted programs to attend alternate public schools, leaving fewer than 700 on Odyssey’s rolls this fall.

The district will be leasing the Odyssey campus to South Tech Academy and South Tech Prep, a charter for grade six through 12.

The proposed boundaries were crafted by staff, evaluated by a volunteer boundary committee and subject to public comment before Avossa made his recommendation to the board.



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