Celebration's learning curve

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Along with Celebration's regulated architecture, self-touted community values and Disney pedigree comes a well-bought superiority complex. So it's not surprising that last month residents complained about a proposed expansion of Celebration School. The change threatens the small class sizes and mixed-age approach that the school now offers.

The Osceola County School District and the Celebration Co., saying that they underestimated growth rates, announced plans to build a 2,000-student high school on the town's outskirts. The current K-12 school, located downtown, would lose its high-school students to the new facility and serve only kindergarten through seventh grade. Residents claimed a betrayal of the town's "original vision" in which the school wasn't shunted to the less-desirable fringes but rather, as the Celebration Co.'s fact sheet boasts, "situated near the downtown area giving students an opportunity to interact with town merchants on a daily basis."

A lawsuit filed by a group of residents seeking to block the school board's vote to acquire land from the Celebration Co. got tossed out at a July 6 hearing. But the judge left the possibility of other court action in the fall, when the Celebration School's expansion is scheduled to begin. "The court said, 'Well, since nothing is going to happen till November, we're not going to `order an injunction`," says Wallace M. Rudolph, a Celebration resident. They're looking for other strategies, but Rudolph admits, "I doubt if we'll get anywhere with the school board."

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