Changes ahead for returning Palm Beach County students

Palm Beach County schools are gearing up to welcome back nearly 200,000 students Aug. 14 with some new roofs, new academic programs and a new K-8 campus.

Superintendent Robert Avossa on Friday highlighted the upcoming changes and said, “We’re now delivering on the promises we made to voters.”

The changes include:

— Hidden Oaks Elementary in Lake Worth will convert into a K-8,

— Santaluces High in Lantana will add a new medical career program,

— Royal Palm Beach High is getting a new Air Force JROTC program.

This will be the first full school year since county voters approved a one-cent sales tax in November for construction, maintenance, technology and other expenses. Schools collect half of that, with the rest being shared by the county and cities.

Avossa said work began this summer on a number of projects.

Four schools are getting new roofs, including Carver Middle in Delray Beach and Lantana Middle. The projects will still be underway after classes start but will happen during nights and weekends to avoid disruptions, officials said.

Landings Middle and New Horizons Elementary in Wellington will be among the schools getting new outside LED lighting, which Avossa says is easier on the eyes and saves money in utility costs.

Parking lot and athletic field improvements have been made at several schools, including Del Prado Elementary in Boca Raton and Bear Lakes Middle in West Palm Beach. The sales tax is also paying for 20 new police vehicles and 80 new school buses.

“We were able to hit the ground running on these projects,’’ Avossa said during a press conference at Park Vista High, west of Boynton Beach.

The school also served as the site of TeacherFest, an orientation event for about 700 new instructors.

Many of the new teachers said they were ready to get started.

“i’m extremely excited,” said Theresa Powery, who will be a guidance counselor at John F. Kennedy Middle in Riviera Beach..”I look forward to enlightening and empowering students, motivating them and getting them ready to learn.”

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