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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Lawyer seeks delay for hearings on Pasco County school rezonings

Some Pasco County families have challenged the School Board's adoption of new school boundary maps.

Some Pasco County families have challenged the School Board's adoption of new school boundary maps.



Hoping to undo the Pasco County School Board's recent attendance zone revisions, two groups of parents have filed suit against the district, alleging improprieties in the board's rule making process.

The Division of Administrative Hearings scheduled hearings to take place Feb. 27 for west-side families and Feb. 28 for east-side families.

Now the lawyer representing both groups has asked to push back the sessions "at least 30 days," saying he needs more time to prepare. Robert Stines of the Phelps Dunbar law firm also noted he has a potential conflict with another trial.

Being a first request, Stines wrote, the district "will not be prejudiced by this reasonably short continuance."

District officials declined to comment on the litigation, and have planned a Tuesday morning executive session with the board to discuss it. They have not yet filed any responses to the cases.

They have made clear in the past, though, that they believe they're running on a tight time frame. The district plans to complete school choice open enrollment applications by March 1 and then issue reassignments, which in the past has taken months. A postponement to the DOAH hearing could affect the outcome.

If the hearing officer rules for the families -- many of whom have long sought to delay boundary changes -- the decisions could have to be reversed for the participants and, perhaps, for all affected parties. Several more people have asked to join the challenge since its filing, seeking to protect their interests.

[Last modified: Thursday, February 9, 2017 2:20pm]


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