Letters to the Editor

Redrawn school attendance zones key to Manatee County's athletic, tax challenges

Our local school athletes are going to be impacted by the new Florida High School Athletic Association rule that will increase the number of classifications for their programs.

There appears to be some local angst over what that would mean in additional costs for transportation and limited local competition.

Perhaps it is now time for the Manatee County school board to consider redistricting local attendance areas for the schools to balance the number of students enrolled and to maximize the utilization of their sizable investment in facilities at every school level?

I don't know how the numbers will work out for the district for the 2016-2017 school year, but it would be a huge step forward if every school ran at 90-plus percent capacity.

The issues with the new FHSAA classifications would go away as the local high schools were balanced toward uniformity in enrollment numbers and the full utilization of the number of seats available.

Superintendent Diana Greene is going to have her hands full getting 1,001 things ready for the coming school year, but if redistricting is put on the table now there will be plenty of time to work with parents to make it a viable option.

Overall it would take some time to see the redistricting work out, but several schools are long overdue for this.

If redistricting gives the district some breathing room before needing to raise many millions of taxpayer dollars for building new schools, it would appear to be a win-win situation.

It looks like it will be a tough year politically to raise local school taxes and sell bonds after the financial fiasco of our former superintendents.

I think that it is a solution whose time has come to benefit the students, their schools, and to maximize the return on the taxpayer's dollars.

Dan Crumpler