INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – Students at Gifford and Sebastian River middle schools will be allowed to decide if they want to continue their studies at their current school or be transferred to Storm Grove Middle.
The Indian River County School Board unanimously approved a rezoning plan that will shift certain students from the two middle schools over the course of the next two school years. The approved plan will also allow current fifth graders who have siblings at Sebastian River or Gifford to join their older brother or sister rather than be sent to Storm Grove.
“I think we have taken care of every concern,” Schools Superintendent Dr. Harry La Cava said, referring to the final recommendation.
The School Board had agreed to move the meeting to the County Commission Chambers in anticipation of a large crowd. However, about a dozen members of the public turned out – none spoke to the issue of rezoning.
School Board members applauded School District staff for working to address the public’s concerns regarding the proposed rezoning, noting that the lack of a crowd was a testament to the staff’s work to communicate with the public.
The School District’s staff have been working to address low student population at Storm Grove Middle and relieve near over-crowding at Gifford and Sebastian River. Rezoning two areas of the county for Storm Grove is expected to help balance the populations.
School Board member Karen Disney-Brombach, who was not in attendance but participated via telephone, continued to voice concerns over splitting the Vero Lake Estates community.
She had raised the issue before, during School Board workshops, that families moved into Vero Lake Estates expecting the students to attend the same schools, not to be split.
As it is, the portion of Vero Lake Estates on the south side of 85th Street will be rezoned from Sebastian River Middle to Storm Grove.
An area of west and south Vero Beach, between State Road 60 and 8th Street and between 58th and 27th avenues will be rezoned to Storm Grove from Gifford Middle.
Students zoned for Oslo Middle School will not be affected by the changes.
“We feel that this is probably the best for the School District,” La Cava said.