School Overcrowding Problem Solved in Bay County?

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PANAMA CITY - Bay County school officials believe they've solved part of the overcrowding problem at Panama City Beach schools. The school with the most issues is Breakfast Point Academy. The district is excluding Breakfast Point from the school choice program, for fifth graders entering middle school.

As of December, Breakfast Point Academy's elementary school had 963 elementary students, about 200 students more than capacity.

The school district formed the beach overcrowding task force to find solutions, including possible rezoning. They recommended one option that Superintendent Bill Husfelt is supporting.

"If you live in the zone, you get to continue going there, but if you don't live in the zone, if you're in fifth grade this year, you're going to have a big concern," said Superintendent Bill Husfelt.

Out of zone Breakfast Point fifth graders hoping to continue at the middle school will not be grandfathered-in and the board will not be granting any hardship requests.

"There won't be any exceptions until we look at the numbers and if we have room and look at the numbers then. If it becomes such that it isn't a problem, then we'd let students in but I don't see that happening," said Husfelt.

Husfelt calls the move a temporary solution to halt a growing issue. Steve Moss, who was on the task force, says this may help, but might only impact about 50 students.

"It's a step in the right direction to maybe alleviate some of that overcrowding, but long term, in my opinion, probably not. We'll probably have to do something more intrusive in regards to moving the students around to be more efficient," said Steve Moss, a School Board member.

Husfelt believes the long term solution to overcrowding is to build a new elementary school.