BCPS votes to move forward with MSD boundary map C-4 at first community public hearing


Jasmine Bhogaita

A concerned parent addresses the Broward County Public School Board at the March 29 boundary meeting about possible solutions to the dispute over the proposed change. The meeting lasted several hours and went from 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Jasmine Bhogaita, News Editor

Broward County Public Schools board members voted to continue with the process of changing the boundary for MSD in the upcoming school year, as the school is expected to be overcapacity by nearly 500 students in the 2023-2024 school year,

A decision was reached after an over six-hour long public hearing at Coral Springs High School on March 29, in which members of the Parkland and Coral Springs community voiced their opinions on the handling of the boundary change.

Prior to the start of the meeting, a robo call went out to parents in Parkland and Coral Springs announcing that Interim Superintendent Dr. Earlean C. Smiley had recommended that the proposed boundary changes be halted for next year, after it was determined that BCPS Policy 5000 had not been properly followed. At the start of the hearing, the board voted unanimously to adopt that recommendation.

Attendees in favor of the adopted C-4 map proposal voiced their outrage at the board’s new decision, claiming that their sudden decision right before the meeting’s start voided all of the efforts put in by the community.

“I’m just disappointed to have everyone go through this process over the last eight months, spend countless hours of their time, their energy, hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money, to support all of your stuff to do all this work, and tell us we’re doing nothing because of a single email that was sent to you today, advising you that you didn’t follow your policy,” Parkland commissioner Jordan Isrow said.

However, later in the meeting, the school board decided not to act in accordance with the Smiley’s recommendation to halt the process and overturned their previous 4-3 vote to move forward with the boundary proposal.

Currently, MSD’s boundaries are looking to follow map C-4, which would move all incoming students living in the specified affected area, which is anyone living south of Wiles Road in Coral Springs, to Coral Glades High School. Students living in that area that are currently enrolled at MSD will be allowed to continue to attend until they graduate.

The C-4 boundary proposal reassigns 351 students over the next four years from Marjory Stoneman Douglas to Coral Glades High School to relieve overcrowding. The School Board of Broward County voted to move forward with this proposal for next school year. (Broward County Public Schools)

One of the main concerns raised by supporters of this proposal was the overall safety of the school.

“The overcrowding at MSD is an extreme safety issue,” freshman Olivia Francesco said at the March 29 meeting. “I will compete against anyone of any size in any sport, but I cannot successfully compete in the overcrowded hallways of MSD.”

Additional suggestions were also considered to make MSD safer with the overcrowded halls. The board raised the recommendation to use the funding that would have otherwise been used for the redistricting to add an additional BSO officer to the campus. A board member also recommended that MSD add a third lunch period to accommodate the extra students, which has beenn implemented at Coral Glades High School.

The redrawing of the boundary for MSD has been a contentious issue from the start of the procees, which has pitted the residents of Parkland and Coral Springs against each other, as residents in each city desire to remain assigned to the school. Parkland residents pushed safety as a main issue, and Coral Springs residents pointed out the unfairness of the proposal, which only affects Coral Springs and the fact that the school district failed to follow their own policy.

The school board was met with much criticism for their handling of the boundary dispute; however, community members agree that MSD has well exceeded its capacity for its students, and changes will need to be made in the future to ensure a safe learning environment for all students.

Some Coral Springs residents criticized the school board for sending a robo call that seemed to end the process and then voting to continue anyway.

Following the March 29 school board meeting, the Coral Springs Commission held a community meeting on April 4 at Coral Springs City Hall, in which community members voiced their opinions on the boundary matter.

The Coral Springs city commission expressed its disagreement with the handling of the March 29 public hearing and the “C-4” proposal. Commission members also said they might reconsider their contracts with Parkland, which would potentially eliminate fire and paramedic services Coral Springs has with Parkland. They also discussed ending student parking for MSD students at North Community Park, commonly referred to as MSD’s junior lot.

“We as Coral Springs residents and as a commission have to let the school board know that this is not right, and we know what’s best for our kids,” Coral Springs commissioner Joy Carter said. “I feel we’re being discriminated against.”

The disagreement over MSD’s boundaries has caused a rift between Parkland and Coral Springs residents. A final decision on the boundary and its associated effects will be decided at the April 12 meeting.