ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Thirteen brand new schools will open in the Orange county Public Schools district this fall.
“That’s the largest number [of schools] we’ve opened in a long time,” said Orange County School Board Member Nancy Robbinson.
Another two dozen schools are in the construction, design or planning phases, bring the grand total to 37 new schools in the district over the next three years. It’s a building boom to the tune of $1 billion with a plan to spend $2 billion more over the next ten years, according to OCPS. The school district is trying to keep up with population growth.
“We've grown approximately 5,000 students per year for the last several years and I don't think we see that changing,” Robbinson said, adding that the district is also replacing schools that were built in the early days of Orange County Public Schools. “On the outskirts of the district you’re going to have new—brand new buildings that we have to name for the first time, that we’re going to put children in for the first time.”
The aggressive construction plan is outpacing those in other rapidly-growing school districts across the country.
“In the core, central part of the district, it’s more about replacement,” she said.
Compare the 37 schools OCPS has in the works over the next three years, to the 12 in the Clark County School District in Las Vegas and one in Dallas Independent School District.
All the new sites are paid for mostly by a half-penny sales tax voters approved in 2014.