Developer offers to build 5 schools in east Orange County

Relief school decision put on hold; County Commissioners to meet May 19

ORLANDO, Fla. - After a developer offered to build five schools in east Orange County at a meeting Tuesday, county officials have decided they will continue to discuss a plan for a new middle school in Avalon Park in the days ahead.

Orange County Public Schools presented a proposal to county commissioners to build a new middle school on a 17-acre site off Timber Springs Boulevard. The new school would provide relief for Avalon Middle School, which is currently nearly double its capacity.

At the meeting, Avalon Park developer Beat Kahli offered to build five schools, including a relief school in Avalon Park that would open in 2016.

"We have a problem in East Orlando, we have a school overcrowding problem," Kahli said. "What is the plan, the plan is simple, we want to build you a relief school in Avalon Park and we want to open it in 2016."

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs thanked Kahli for the offer and said she would like to meet with Kahli and the school board chair to discuss it further.

The public meeting then continued with dozens of parents and teachers speaking about school overcrowding.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, a county development committee has recommended a no vote for the school, saying the proposed site is too small. The committee also has concerns about traffic in the area.

There was no official vote Tuesday night. Instead, the county commission voted to continue the discussion on the relief school.

Parents like Jenny Wojcik can't understand why the decision was delayed.

"We need a decision and we needed it today," said Wojcik. "That they couldn't make a decision that's what elected officials do. Look at pros and cons and make a decision."

The county will take the next 30 days to decide how to proceed. The Board of County Commissioners will meet again for a decision at 2 p.m. May 19. The decision has been made in order to allow the consideration of an additional proposal, officials said.

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