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Pasco County school rezoning court case set for early June



A group of west Pasco County parents suing the local School Board to stop recently approved attendance zone revisions will have to wait until early June to get one of their complaints heard.

Circuit Court Judge Declan Mansfield has scheduled a hearing on the parents' request for a temporary injunction against implementation of the new boundaries for 9 a.m. June 2 -- long after district officials anticipate approving school choice assignments and other plans for 2017-18.

The relatively late date of the court date could make a halt to the rezoning, which the parents ask for, difficult to manage in advance of students' first day of classes Aug. 14. Course scheduling, teacher allocations and bus routes are among concerns officials have noted.

Robert Stines, the lawyer representing the parents and students, told the Gradebook the June hearing isn't necessarily too late, though he acknowledged it could be a complicating factor. Stines said he looked to the School Board to take all the angles into account as it meets Feb. 21 in closed session to talk about the lawsuit.

"I'm hoping the School Board ... will consider the options and the risks, and consider what is best for all the students," he said.

School Board attorney Dennis Alfonso said he did not want to comment about ongoing litigation. He has not filed any response to the complaint, which alleges members of the superintendent's rezoning advisory committee discussed boundary issues outside public committee meetings. That could be a violation of Florida's Sunshine Law.

The parents' second path of attack against the new boundaries -- allegations that the board did not follow proper rule making procedures -- remains scheduled for hearing before an administrative judge on Feb. 27 and Feb. 28. Depositions are set to be taken next week.

[Last modified: Thursday, February 16, 2017 11:16am]


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