District Says It has No Current Plan to Close Palma Sola Elementary

Staff Report
BRADENTON — Rumors recently began swirling that the Manatee County School District may have plans to close or consolidate some schools, including Palma Sola Elementary. However, the district says it has no such plans at this time, though it and the school board will begin looking at underpopulated schools during a February workshop.  

Palma Sola Elementary, which dates back to 1961, has many local alumni, and concerns over its future have led to a change.org petition that has so far gathered more than 3,100 signatures. Similar concerns materialized more than a decade ago when underpopulation at Anna Maria Island Elementary led to discussions about the possibility of the school closing with district officials explaining that it was built based on growth projections that failed to materialize. 

A number of schools throughout the district have lower-than-ideal student populations while others are experiencing problems on the other end of the spectrum. While modifying district boundaries has been one method of balancing student distribution in the past, increased traffic burdens caused by excessive growth have rendered that tactic less practical.

The matter is expected to come up at a Palma Sola Elementary SAC meeting scheduled for this evening. A spokesperson for the district said that while anything can happen, the closing of any school is pure speculation at this point and that a workshop on elementary schools that are under student capacity in West Bradenton is scheduled to take place on Friday, Feb. 17.