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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Superintendent amends rezoning recommendation for west Pasco schools



With a public hearing just hours away, Pasco superintendent Kurt Browning has slightly altered his recommendation on attendance zone revisions for southwest county middle and high schools.

The changes involve the Deer Park communities slated to be reassigned from the River Ridge middle-high zone to the Gulf middle-high zone.

"Initially, I had recommended that Areas 1-4 (Deer Park) be rezoned from RRMS and RRHS to GMS and GHS, respectively. This recommendation was made now because we know that we were going to have to eventually, sooner now than later, rezone this area," Browning wrote in an email to School Board members. "After talking with staff and reexamining the numbers, I will be recommending tonight that we rezone Areas 1-4 for the 2018-19 School Year."

He sent out the news on Twitter shortly afterward.

Parents in the Deer Park area did not get to speak at the board's Dec. 20 public hearing on the zones, because time ran out. They had been guaranteed the opportunity to speak first at tonight's session, if they attend.

In the intervening time, though, several wrote lengthy emails to the board and superintendent asking for reconsideration. They both praised River Ridge, and raised concerns about the safety of their children at Gulf. The criticisms raised some hackles within the district, but were not the cause of the proposed one-year delay.

Heading into the final public hearing, residents of Longleaf -- which is slated to be rezoned from the Mitchell feeder pattern into River Ridge -- also have made pleas not to be rezoned. 

Within their own circles, the parents tried to organize to monopolize the hour allocated to discuss the southwest boundaries.

Parent Heather Goldstein, who spoke at the last hearing, sent a message stating, "It is also important that we use ALL of the alloted hour for speakers, and we want to make sure that they cut off speakers after an hour. ... It is fine if all the folks from 1-4 speak first, but we need to make sure we get cut off after an hour."

She also referred in her Facebook post to a lawsuit that residents are considering if they do not get their way.

One upset resident notified the district, and forwarded the Facebook message to several officials.

In one final bit of news before the hearing, the district announced that the advanced Cambridge program had been approved for Anclote High, Paul R. Smith Middle and San Antonio Elementary for 2017-18. Officials are hoping that the program will draw people into under-capacity Anclote and Paul R. Smith without having to significantly modify attendance boundaries for those schools.

The public hearing is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Follow @jeffsolochek on Twitter or solochek.times on Facebook for live updates.

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 5:06pm]


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