Pasco County commissioner says he's not trying to influence school rezoning
Wesley Chapel parents unhappy with the Pasco School Board's direction on middle and high school attendance zone revisions lately have turned County Commissioner Mike Moore into an object of their attacks.
Having long refused to comment, Moore on Tuesday stated he's not pushing any personal agenda on the subject, despite the accusations.
"It's unfortunate that people use social media to spread rumors and misinformation," said Moore, the County Commission chairman.
The allegations suggest that Moore has put his finger on the scale to protect the Seven Oaks subdivision, where he lives, from being drawn out of the Wiregrass Ranch High feeder pattern. They've suggested that superintendent Kurt Browning altered an advisory committee's recommendation to rezone Seven Oaks into the Wesley Chapel High feeder pattern to curry favor with Moore, who holds a potentially swing vote on whether to increase school impact fees, which the district is seeking.
Over time, Moore largely has held his tongue on the subject, saying he didn't want to get in the middle of the rezonings, over which the County Commission has no say. He did not attend a recent School Board public hearing on the matter, even after the board invited him and other commissioners to hear a presentation on impact fees during the same meeting.
School Board chairman Allen Altman said he had not held a single conversation with Moore about the rezoning since the issue arose. Several other board members said they also had not spoken to him on the topic, and that he had not tried to contact them.
"I know of nothing like that going on," board member Alison Crumbley said.
With the rumors continuing to swirl into the holiday season, Moore on Tuesday spoke out. He made clear that he would be fine with sending his children to any of the schools that the district is considering for the Seven Oaks community.
"My wife and I, we are very happy with the Pasco County school system and the education our children have gotten," Moore told the Gradebook. "We will be more than satisfied with whatever schools my children end up going to."
In the fall, he will have one child in elementary school, another entering middle school and a third beginning high school.
"My wife works at Wesley Chapel High School," he continued. "She loves the administration there. She loves working there. She sees firsthand that it's a great school too."
He said when his family moved into Seven Oaks nine years ago, his oldest daughter was 4 years old and schools had no bearing on their choice of neighborhood. He said he would support the School Board's ultimate vote, and that it will have no influence on his decision over impact fees.
The commission and board are working out the details for appointing an advisory committee on impact fees, leading to a commission workshop and eventual vote. Moore and other commissioners were noncommittal on whether they back an increase, saying they are open to the idea depending on the information they receive.
Altman said he is hoping for a more accelerated time frame than the commission has set forth. No meetings have been scheduled.