Rod Olsen is an Apopka resident who often contributes his opinions at the Apopka City Council meetings during the public comments section. Olsen is particularly frustrated with Apopka schools, which he believes are overcrowded. In this op/ed, which is to be read at the November 2nd City Council meeting, Olsen is against approving Ordinance #2975 - a request to approve a development for 816 residential homes in Apopka.
Here is Olsen in his own words...
"Although I cannot attend the November 2nd Apopka City Council meeting, I must weigh in. We are still dealing with the shortage of Police, Fire, and other critical personnel, flooding, and roadways topped with an infrastructure unable to meet our current needs adequately.
Continued school overcrowding has resulted in disciplinary and academic achievement challenges for the children, not to mention the remnants of Hurricane Ian.
In spite of this, we continue to rubber-stamp new developments at breakneck speeds in Apopka. We keep kicking the can down the road specific to space at our schools.
Ordinance #2975 for 816 living units is flat-out scary. The school designations do not appear to make sense. Yet, another rubber stamp rewards out-of-town developers and lets the Citizens of Apopka deal with all the fallout – inadequate roadways, staffing, infrastructure, and overcrowded schools. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck!
What happened to getting together with OCPS and Orange County Government in a UNITED FRONT in addressing our concerns with our school overcrowding in Apopka? As the fastest-growing County in the State of Florida, why should our children continue to suffer through years of overcrowding before Tallahassee will free the funds to build new schools?
This is wrong.
We need to make the case that we are different based on our growth and hence need to be treated differently. We must set a date to meet with the aforementioned before the next Council Meeting.
OUR CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE. We are better than this. As the 4th largest school district in the state, why do we "enjoy" nearly 20% of our students in portables when the top 3 school districts, by rank, are 2.5%, 14%, and 2.5% in portables? WE DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS. WE MUST DEMAND BETTER THAN THIS.
I am concerned with the breakneck speed that we continue to rubber-stamp new development when we do not have the infrastructure, personnel, and schools to support what we currently have on our plates.
We need to put the brakes on any development in Apopka until our community can get our legs under us and grow and develop as a community in a straightforward, measured, and metered manner. Makes one wonder what happened to crawling before walking and walking before running.
What can I do to help?"
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