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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco school boundaries approved



Five new Pasco County schools slated to open in the next academic year now have students assigned to them.

Despite objections from a handful of parents, the School Board unanimously approved attendance boundaries for Gulf Trace, Double Branch and New River elementary schools, Charles Rushe Middle School and Sunlake High School. (There are links to each on the right hand side of the district home page under What's New.)

These schools should ease crowding problems, at least somewhat, at their neighboring schools. A few, including Wesley Chapel and Sand Pine elementary schools, will remain filled well beyond their capacity even with the removal of children.

A few parents from Ivy Lake Estates showed up to reiterate their upset 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 represented a group of parents and 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 for the community, but her ideas did not gain traction with the rest of the board.

Parents from Meadow Pointe who complained about the Double Branch boundary two weeks ago did not come to Tuesday's meeting. They had requested to keep their children at Sand Pine. The district boundary committee met again to consider the request and did not recommend change. Still, a representative from the Meadow Pointe Community Development District spoke to oppose any thought to bending to the parents' request.

"Sand Pine deserves the relief," said Dennis Smith of the CDD. "This school has been over capacity for far too long."

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:14am]


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