The Lee County School District has opened enrollment for the next school year, and it has a new outreach plan designed to help address problems of the district with the bus system.

LCSD’s plan reduces the school zones from which parents can choose to send their children, and hopefully cuts down on bus rides to and from school. If you have a child in Kindergarten through 4th grade, the first step is to get online and create the Focus Parent Portal. There you will be able to view the new proximity zoning maps.

If your child’s current school is in your new zone and you want them to continue attending that school, you have no choice. However, if your child’s current school is not in the new proximity area on the map, you will need to log into the Focus Parent Portal and choose to keep your child at their current school, bearing in mind that you will be responsible for finding a ride for your child to school.

That’s the idea — fewer routes for bus drivers and less time for students to wait. Transportation will only be provided if your assigned school is more than two miles from your home. Lee County’s school bus situation has caused a lot of frustration, and LCSD hopes this new close zoning will help.

Lee County mom Dixie Dorter told WINK News last week that her daughter’s school bus was either late or didn’t come at all. This new rapprochement plan won’t affect her yet, but she’s an example of how it could help down the road.

“They just wouldn’t come, and when I call the bus depot, there’s no bus and there’s no backup,” Dorter said. “And it continues… the second week. There is no school, and children stand here for 30, 40 minutes. Because the bus didn’t turn up, I had no way of knowing that the bus didn’t turn up until I called the bus park.’

While the plan is currently only for elementary students, the new zoning will eventually become a factor for some middle and high school parents.

“She was there all these years; I want her to finish there,” Dorter said. “I know you’re trying to pick a school that you know a little better. So, I’m not sure how I feel about it. The main thing is just to deliver them safely.”

Open enrollment for elementary school for the 2023-2024 school year will be available beginning Monday and will continue through March 10.

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