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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

School choice doesn't provide options for all in Pasco

For the third straight year, Pasco County families are finding it's not so easy to get into the public school of their choice despite the school district's open choice policy.

Parents submitted 2,766 applications to switch schools for 2012-13. After weeding out the incomplete forms and the requests that weren't needed (duplicates, already accepted from prior year, etc.), 2,192 applications remained. Of those, 922 — that's 42 percent — were denied. One of the primary reasons: no room in the school.

Pasco faces large fines if it doesn't meet the state's class size rules next year, so it's making every effort to keep schools from becoming over capacity. This isn't unusual, though. The district, which had been rather free in approving choice applications in the past, stopped that practice two years ago and stiffened its transfer requirements. In some cases, that meant two siblings might be assigned to different schools.

Pasco isn't alone. Pinellas schools this year found its schools of choice to be more competitive for slots. Palm Beach schools approved just 33 percent of school choice applications, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Pasco's appeal process for choice is ongoing, and a few more families might win their preferred school seats.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 6:19am]


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