Will the Pasco school district audit Mitchell High School's enrollment?
As word spreads that Mitchell High School's attendance zone might be redrawn to ease crowding, parents in the Trinity neighborhoods near the campus are asking Pasco County district officials to audit the school's enrollment.
Their concern centers on the possibility that not everyone who goes to Mitchell belongs there.
Parents have emailed the district, suggesting that "hundreds of kids" arrive at Mitchell school bus stops who do not live within the attendance boundaries. They contend that if all those children are rooted out, the School Board might not need to remove families that chose their homes to attend Mitchell.
District officials have remained open to the idea. They have noted that, by their count 147 students living outside the area attend Mitchell, while 149 who live in the zone go to other schools.
When a rezoning takes place, the district requires families attending schools through choice reapply.
But even if all those families were removed, deputy superintendent Ray Gadd observed, the need to create new boundaries is not likely to disappear. The school, built for about 1,700 students, had more than 2,200 in attendance after five class days.
"As a district we should shore up our protocols relative to proof of residence but it is really a red herring," Gadd wrote in an email to staff. "Admittedly, parents perceive (it) as (an) issue but like I said our overcrowding will be so bad by fall of '17 that it would have no impact on need for boundary changes."
District officials plan to hold their first staff meeting to discuss the rezoning details, which also include other schools and neighborhoods, on Friday.