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Parents told not to enroll students at Haines City High which has reached capacity

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Posted at 6:05 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 18:05:27-04

HAINES CITY, Fla. — Haines City High School is at full capacity, leaving parents having to enroll students in another school.

With the first day of school just two weeks away, Haines City parents are being told to find another high school for their students to attend.

“Haines City is at the space where we just literally cannot put any more students in that school,” said Polk Education Association President Stephanie Yocum.

Polk County Public Schools sent letters to parents informing them that Haines City High School has reached maximum capacity. The school has a capacity of 3,000 students. The projected enrollment of students this upcoming school year is 2,925. Yocum said capping enrollment at Haines City High is best for the student and teacher experience.

“When you have 50 kids in an algebra class, do you think that your student is getting the most individualized attention that they can get? Probably not,” Yocum said.

This enrollment cap will only impact new students who have moved to the area since the end of the 2021-22 school year. Parents are being given two options. They can enroll students at Ridge Community High which is about six miles away. They may also file a request to transfer their student to another high school in the district. The second option does not include school bus transportation.

Yocum tells ABC Action News schools can’t be built fast enough for the influx of families moving to Polk County.

“We need to make sure that we are advocating that our public education capital dollars are coming back to public schools and not charter schools, so that we can build adequate facilities,” she said.

On top of that, the district is still facing on-going staffing shortages.

“You have all of this compounding together. Higher student enrollment, fewer certified teachers. You're going to have bigger class sizes which means you have more to grade, more to plan for,” said Yocum.