Pasco School Board reorganizes, then hears from parents on rezoning matters
The Pasco County School Board's meeting Tuesday morning was expected to be a short session, dedicated primarily to the formalities of swearing in members and choosing new leadership.
That part took place quickly, with newly elected board member Colleen Beaudoin taking the oath first, followed by reelected incumbent Alison Crumbley and then superintendent Kurt Browning. Without dissent or conversation, the board next chose Allen Altman as chairman, and Cynthia Armstrong as vice chair for the coming year.
Having reorganized, the board opened business for a light agenda, with no items of contention. When it asked for any public comment, however, the board could not escape the hot issues of the day.
Several parents came forward to complain about the attendance boundary revision process taking place for Wesley Chapel area middle and high schools. Primarily from the areas recommended to move from Wiregrass Ranch High and John Long Middle into Wesley Chapel High and Weightman Middle, the Meadow Pointe parents raised several of their key concerns that they have expressed in emails to the board and superintendent.
Citing traffic congestion and a divided subdivision among their problems with the proposal, they urged the board to "come to a better solution," as parent Amy Carlucci put it.
Parents from the Union Park and Seven Oaks subdivisions, which also stand to be affected by any potential rezoning, told the board that residents in their areas had been working together to explore options that might meet everyone half way. They provided a 9-page document to the board and administration for consideration.
"We're not looking for a civil war in Wesley Chapel," said Mark McBride of Seven Oaks.
After the meeting, Browning told McBride and Tom McClanahan his staff would look at the ideas, along with all the others, as they near conclusion in the rezoning effort.
In related news, deputy superintendent Ray Gadd told the board that the district had received a proposed memorandum of understanding from Pasco-Hernando State College to place a performing arts center and program at Cypress Creek Middle/High School, the new school on Old Pasco Road that opens in the fall.
Board attorney Dennis Alfonso, meanwhile, called attention to a brief request from David Goldstein, a member of the west Pasco rezoning committee, to board members. Goldstein, who avidly pushed a failed proposal to leave his Longleaf community in Mitchell High School, asked individual board members to meet privately with him and his fellow assistant county attorney Kristi Sims to discuss impact fees and rezoning.
"I'd like the opportunity to talk with the county attorney about that before any individual meetings go forward," Alfonso told the board.
At least one board member questioned the appropriateness of Goldstein's request, which came through a county paralegal, and suggested there was little else to discuss with him at this point.
"I've already met with him" early in the rezoning, said Crumbley, who also sat through the final west side boundary committee meeting. "I don't see any reason to mee with him again."
Altman withheld judgment, but did not sound inclined to hold private meeting with the county attorneys.
"We are going to follow the same procedures that have worked well for us in the past, as far as discussing impact fees and rezoning issues," Altman said.
The board is expected to make its final determination on both rezoning proposals on Jan. 17.