Broward School Board members put off potentially controversial -- and substantial -- boundary changes for at least a year.
School Board members said during a Tuesday workshop that they want to count groups of schools together, instead of individual campuses, to determine whether there is enough room to accommodate children from new residential developments.
They also want to use 110 percent of a school's capacity including portable classrooms, rather than simply 110 percent of a school's permanent capacity, to comply with growth management laws.
That way they'll avoid boundary changes everywhere except Pioneer Middle School in Cooper City, where an undetermined number of kids will be transferred to other schools in the 2010-2011 school year.
The alternative: A domino of boundary changes that would shift students from bursting-at-the-seams schools such as Cypress Bay High School or Falcon Cove Middle School in Weston, triggering moves to the east and the north.
"Certainly, every single city commissioner in every single city needs to know, 'This is where we are,'" said board member Stephanie Kraft.
They'll now start working with different local groups that oversee the growth management rules, then go to each of Broward's municipalities and to county leaders to ask them to sign off on the change.
Cypress Bay High School in Weston, Everglades High School in Miramar and Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines are scheduled for boundary changes for the 2010-2011 school year so the schools comply with growth management requirements. Six middle schools -- Falcon Cove and Tequesta Trace in Weston, Indian Ridge in Davie, Glades in Miramar, Silver Trail in Pembroke Pines and Westpine in Sunrise -- are set to have their boundaries moved in 2011-2012.
Those high school moves could affect 12 different high schools, as far east as Hallandale High and as far north as J.P. Taravella High in Coral Springs, while the middle school changes could affect as many as 15 schools, as far east as McNicol Middle in Hollywood and as far north as Millennium Middle in Tamarac.
The school district has more than enough room for the students it has, with projections of 34,800 empty seats in the next three years. But those seats aren't in the western schools where they are needed.
"Somewhere along the line we're going to have to address that," board chairwoman Maureen Dinnen said. " I do think that it is a legitimate question, 'How are you addressing the number of student stations that are unused?'"
Cypress Bay parent Laurie Rich Levinson, who is running for School Board and attended Tuesday's workshop, said it's a no-win situation -- children are either in portable classrooms at an overcrowded school, or moved to a different school.
She said the School Board neglected building more schools in the areas that needed it most.
"We missed the boat on building in the west," Levinson said.
Kathy Bushouse can be reached at kbushouse@SunSentinel.com or 954-356-4556.