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Pasco School Board prepares to adopt new boundaries for five elementary schools



Despite concerns raised by some parents, the Pasco school district administration has not changed its recommended attendance boundaries for several elementary schools in the Wesley Chapel-Lutz area.

The changes come because a new elementary school, located in the Wiregrass Ranch area, is set to open next fall, housing about 500 students. It will draw children from overcapacity campuses, primarily Seven Oaks, which has grown to become the county's largest elementary.

Parents from two communities that had been assigned to Seven Oaks -- Northwood and Arbor Woods -- have asked to send their children to Sand Pine Elementary, east of their subdivisions. They have contended that their lives are oriented toward Wesley Chapel, and so, too, should their schools be.

But the district, seeking to balance enrollments among the area campuses, rezoned those neighborhoods to Denham Oaks Elementary, to the west of their homes in the Lutz region. That switch would allow keep both Denham Oaks and Sand Pine near their built capacities, while leaving space for anticipated growth in the new elementary school, which has not been named.

School Board members have said they rely upon the committee and staff who study the boundary possibilities and make the recommendations. The committee has stuck with its proposal, even after considering alternatives requested by the neighbors, who have said Denham Oaks is a "fine" school, just not for their children.

Denham Oaks has seen its state school grade decline from A to C over the past three years available, while Sand Pine has consistently earned an A.

Board members have asked the district administration to guarantee that Denham Oaks offer the same academic programs, primarily gifted education, as Sand Pine and Seven Oaks, though. A report on progress toward that goal has not yet been provided.

The board takes up the issue at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

[Last modified: Thursday, December 10, 2015 2:45pm]


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