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Schools

Boundaries for new schools finalized

The School Board approves without changes the zoning plans for five facilities.

By JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK
Published February 22, 2007


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LAND O'LAKES - It's official.

If Pasco school district leaders told you that your children might attend one of the five new schools opening next year, you can erase the "might" and ink in "will." The School Board late Tuesday approved the boundaries, without changes, for Double Branch, Gulf Trace and New River elementary schools, Charles S. Rushe Middle School and Sunlake High School.

What does it mean? PTAs can start to form, for one thing. At the high school, principal Angie Stone now knows whom to send ballots for the school mascot vote. Spartans and Hawks are leaders, according to an informal survey of about 300 potential students.

Only a handful of people spoke out at the meeting.

A few parents from Ivy Lake Estates showed up to reiterate their irritation with having their community be the only one west of the Suncoast Parkway rezoned to Rushe and Sunlake.

"The grade school children, again, are still going west while the middle and high school students are going east," said parent Randy Ponce de Leon, who delivered a petition of about 100 signatures opposing the transfer of their children. "At least make it consistent grade school through high school."

His position was not unanimous within the Odessa community.

"I am in favor of the changes mainly because the new schools are much closer to us," said Christine Bell, also of Ivy Lake Estates. "I know that other residents in the neighborhood feel that we are more a part of Land O'Lakes than New Port Richey."

Board vice chairwoman Kathryn Starkey supported keeping the school feeder pattern intact toward central Pasco for the community, but her ideas did not gain traction with the rest of the board.

Parents from Meadow Pointe, who had complained about the Double Branch boundary two weeks ago, did not come to Tuesday's meeting. They had wanted to keep their children at Sand Pine Elementary, which would be at 123 percent capacity without their children and 158 percent with them.

The district boundary committee met again to consider the parents' request but did not recommend change. The parents, who sent a representative to that meeting, seemed to accept that decision, board member Allen Altman said, praising their professionalism.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at solochek@sptimes.com (813) 909-4614 or toll-free 1-800-333-7505 ext. 4614. Check out our education blog, The Gradebook, at blogs.tampabay.com/schools.

[Last modified February 22, 2007, 06:56:32]


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