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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco County schools rezoning: An opposing parent view

20

September

Many Pasco County parents have voiced their extreme displeasure with the idea of rebalancing enrollment at several west county middle and high schools to ease crowding at some, fill vacant seats at others. They particularly protest removing their children from Seven Springs Middle and Mitchell High.

Not everyone is so disposed, though.

One parent, Traelee Works, emailed the district planning department, superintendent and School Board members to let them know she and others support the rezoning. Many have been "bullied into silence," she wrote, or found their words falling on deaf ears. But no longer.

Here's her email, which came from a public records file:

Dear School Board Members,

I feel obligated to speak up on behalf of the unheard parents regarding school rezoning.

Many of us have been bullied into silence or have grown weary of our concerns falling on deaf ears. My neighbors have been vocal at meetings with all of you and have encouraged a delay. However, I have a different perspective.

I would like to express my full support of school rezoning in regards to SSMS/MHS. I encourage you to support what is the most responsible and fiscally sound solution to the overcrowding.

The opposition to school rezoning is focused on ensuring there is only one great school in W. Pasco. I believe it's time to spread the wealth and bring surrounding schools into the fold. I cannot focus solely my own personal property or look out for only my four children. I can't support that if it's at the cost of thousands of other families who are not as well off as we are.

I was born in New Port Richey, leaving only to attend NYU. Pasco is my home. It's who I am. I am a Gulf graduate. My husband is a River Ridge graduate. Gulf was the only school in SW Pasco until River Ridge opened. River Ridge served the area until Mitchell opened. All of the neighborhoods in question were already zoned to these schools. It would be a return to their roots.

People will be angry, but children always adapt to change quickly. I was rezoned several times growing up and still have many of the same friends I had when I was in preschool. And yes, all in a time before the internet or cell phones existed.

My son is in 8th grade gifted at SSMS. He comes home with bloody or bruised knees most days because he has to kneel on the school bus. There's not enough room for him to sit on a seat or the floor. [His] PE class has nearly 40 students in it. They are focused on individual sports this year. With units on archery, etc there is often not enough time during class for him to participate. The 6th grade students have to sit on the ground during pep rallies since there's not enough room on the bleachers.

There is no reason to keep putting so much strain on the school's capacity nor on it's teachers or administrators. Not when there is ample room to spread children out to surrounding schools. Schools that aren't inferior. If parents put the passion that they've put into opposing rezoning into improving these schools, great things could be achieved.

I understand the emotional plea to keep children in their current schools, but it's not realistic. It's not safe. It's not the best use of resources. It's time to implement changes to put the emphasis back on classroom learning and not on the logistics of how to keep an overcrowded population in one spot.

I do not know if my neighborhood (Trinity Preserve) will be affected by these changes but I am prepared to accept any consequence for the benefit of a very strained public school system.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help or if you would like to hear from others with a similar view.

Thank you for your time and efforts.

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 2:24pm]

    

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