New challenges arise to Pasco County school rezoning effort
Families from eastern Pasco County have joined their west-county counterparts in challenging the School Board's recently approved attendance zone revisions.
Using the same attorney, the Wesley Chapel area residents have made similar arguments contending that the board did not follow statutory requirements on rulemaking as it considered the rezoning proposals. They claim that the district did not properly advertise the public hearings, provide answers to questions from the public or give affected people adequate time to make arguments on the issues under consideration.
They have filed their complaint with the Division of Administrative Hearings. To support the effort, the group has launched a Gofundme.com page seeking financial donations.
"The time to act is now," they wrote. "Our community is fighting back."
The west side families, meanwhile, added to their DOAH petition by filing a civil complaint in circuit court. They are claiming members of the district's advisory committee had secretive meetings outside the public eye, making the process unlawful. They also argue that the zoning changes would create irreparable harm to their children's emotional and educational well being.
The families are seeking an injunction and declaratory judgment against the rezoning, which would force their children into different high schools than the one they currently attend.
Superintendent Kurt Browning said he had reviewed the several filings and did not want to comment on pending litigation.
"Certainly with the legal challenges, it will add a layer of complexity to it," Browning said.
He has called for a closed-door session with the School Board on Feb. 7 to discuss the cases. Residents have battled against the plans to redraw attendance boundaries since the fall.