School rezoning effort frays west Pasco community
The looming revision of west Pasco middle and high school attendance boundaries has created rifts among the parent groups that endeavored to call themselves a community.
Several people pushing to delay changes have lobbied superintendent Kurt Browning to remove Michelle Gesling, who has spoken in favor of the rezoning, from the boundary committee.
"Michelle demonstrated very clearly that she is one sided......REZONE..... and not open to finding ways to help you or the board with solutions to overcrowding and under capacity," vocal rezoning opponent Sherri Paules said in an email to Browning.
Meanwhile, parents who back the initiative have complained to the superintendent that Seven Springs Middle principal Chris Dunning has sided with the rezoning opponents.
"Mr. Dunning addressed the committee members with information he received from a select few (anti rezone) parents in reference to rezoning," parent Jamie West wrote in an email. "It was my understanding that parent input was not scheduled until 14NOV16. By allowing input by some parents/groups and not all, this action will be preserved as favoritism. Not the fair and transparent process we were promised! I ask that you intervene, have the document recalled, and formally advise Mr Dunning of his shortfalls!"
These attempts to undermine each others' sides come weeks after one parent attempted to get another tossed from the advisory committee because he worked for the county government as a lawyer.
"I haven't felt the ‘community' since all this started," said Gesling, who initially opposed the plans to draw new boundaries to ease crowding at some schools and fill open seats at others. "I'm not surprised that they're asking for me to be removed."
She suggested that some parents are trying to gum up the process, rather than help with it, as they are looking at the effects on their families more than on the entire region. Crowding is a major issue that looks to worsen, she said, and it needs to be dealt with - regardless of the personal attacks.
Dunning said he had not sided with any group over another, and he was providing information to the committee as is a member's role.
"Enough people have come to me with those concerns, I thought the committee should hear them," he said, adding that he does not agree with all the arguments on the document he shared.
He emailed one parent to say that he would gladly share her views, as well, at the next committee meeting.