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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

FDOT stands by 'courtesy review' of Wesley Chapel traffic for school rezoning effort

Times file photo

23

November

The focus has turned to traffic as the battle over Wesley Chapel-area school attendance boundaries heats up, and some of the attention has centered on a Florida Department of Transportation letter discussing the situation.

Parents hoping to reverse an advisory committee's recommendation of new zones that would split the Meadow Pointe 3 subdivision into two schools are hanging their hat on the document, which details crashes and congestion on the roads they'd have to travel to attend Wesley Chapel High and Weightman Middle. Parents who like the current proposal, which keeps their children in Wiregrass Ranch High and John Long Middle, have criticized the paperwork as "unofficial," and suggested it ignores key data about traffic on other area roadways.

They also noted that the author, engineering specialist Joel Provenzano, lives in Meadow Pointe.

FDOT officials made clear Wednesday that they did not pretend to have all the answers to the Pasco school district's boundary revision process. They said they responded to a parent request for information with what they called a "courtesy review" of the region's major traffic patterns and the potential impact of the maps the advisory committee had up for consideration.

While it wasn't an official opinion, spokesman David Botello said, it did represent a full day's study of the ebb and flow on State Road 54, Bruce B. Downs and other key thoroughfares. And it is a real document by Provenzano, who has conducted traffic studies for other major projects such as the new outlet mall on State Road 56.

"It was impartial," Provenzano said. "I did not know what the School Board had recommended when I reviewed it, nor did I know which option the citizens wanted. I was blind to both sides."

He added that while he does live in Meadow Pointe, his home is not affected by any proposal currently up for consideration. "I'm not affected, no matter which option they choose."

School district officials said they planned to look at the information and report back on it and other issues as the committee continues its efforts. The School Board will hold two public hearings on the rezoning proposal before a scheduled Jan. 17 vote.

A parent town hall is planned for 6 p.m. Nov. 29, with a final committee meeting set for Dec. 2. Get more details about the rezoning process on the district's website.

[Last modified: Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:45pm]

    

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