Monday, July 7, 2008

Fighting School Overcrowding

A Message from
Roy Messinger
Co-Founder, Southern Dr. Phillips Homeowners Coalition

In the late 1990's, Bay Meadows Elementary School had over 1,100 students crammed into a facility built for less than 600. In order to protect Bay Meadows, Rick Geller, backed by the 200 neighbors who filled the Orange County Commission chambers, asked the Commissioners to not allow higher density residential development in the North Lake Buena Vista tourist district. The Commissioners approved his request unanimously, creating a new land use designation.

Several months later, Chairman Mel Martinez announced The Martinez Doctrine. The County would approve of re-zoning requests to increase the density of new residential neighborhoods only as long as the schools could handle the increased number of students.

As a leader of our neighborhood Coalition, Rick and I worked with the Orange County Public School System (OCPS) to fast-track construction of Sand Lake Elementary School to relieve Bay Meadows. Rick and I met with the school board's architect and top officials to plan the new school's layout. Sand Lake welcomed its first students two years ago.

Rick Geller is the only County Commission candidate with children in public school. I know Rick Geller and how much he values the quality of education his children and ours receive. That's why I trust Rick to do what's right to protect our children.

Roy Messinger

Southern Dr. Phillips Homeowners Coalition