No growth for Imagine School at Land O'Lakes
Kathy Helean came before the Pasco County School Board this week to introduce herself as the new principal of Imagine School at Land O'Lakes.
She received a warm welcome. And yet, when the item she had come to support on the agenda arose -- a request to add about 100 students to the charter school's enrollment cap -- Helean got the cold shoulder.
Board vice chairwoman Joanne Hurley stressed that the district supports and appreciates charter schools. But the district cannot deal with such requests so late into the summer, she said, acknowledging staff concerns that Imagine failed to meet several district deadlines that would have made such an increase possible earlier in the year.
To allow Imagine more students now would wreak havoc on the district's budget, chief finance officer Olga Swinson warned the board. That was enough to sway board member Kathryn Starkey, who stood ready to back the school's request until getting that detail.
It's unfortunate for the families that wanted to keep their children in the school, which is adding a grade but was not awarded the capacity to enroll as many kindergartners as hoped, Starkey said. But deadlines exist for a reason, she added, suggesting that maybe in the future Imagine will adhere to those.