Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Let Pasco, Citrus students remain at Hernando's Nature Coast High, principal says

BROOKSVILLE — Nature Coast Technical High School principal Tizzy Schoelles concedes that some out-of-county students are violating district policy by attending the school because of errors on her part.

In her first public comments on the subject, Schoelles on Monday also said the district has provided little support over the years to ensure applicants to magnet schools live in this county.

She expressed frustration, however, at continued rumblings that the presence of those students is evidence that Nature Coast shirked that policy to land ringers for its athletic programs.

"Kids' lives are being pulled apart and destroyed because there's an assumption they're being brought here for athletics," Schoelles said. "I feel bad for them, and I feel bad I've put the School Board in this position."

The students, Schoelles says, should be allowed to stay at the school.

"I wouldn't kick students out of their high school," she said. "I think it's in the best interests of the students who are there to be allowed to stay."

The district discovered earlier this year that 20 Nature Coast students live beyond the county line, most of them in Pasco County. Officials launched an investigation after learning that a Pasco County resident was playing on the football team, Schoelles said. That student has since transferred to a school in Pasco County.

Last week, when a School Board member asked school services director Sonya Jackson "who dropped the ball" on the issue, Jackson replied that administrators at the school level should have checked addresses to ensure noncounty residents were not admitted.

Several parents have said the district's policy that forbids non-residents from attending magnet schools was not made explicit to them.

Schoelles said Monday she accepts responsibility for at least four of the students who have Spring Hill addresses but who reside in Pasco County. The students all live in the 34610 ZIP code, which is entirely in Pasco.

She said she was not aware that a portion of Spring Hill dips south of County Line Road.

"Ignorance is no excuse on my part, but I had no idea that was the case," she said.

Two students attended Hernando County schools but lived outside of the county when they applied to attend Nature Coast, Schoelles said. Out-of-county residents are eligible to apply for a spot in a nonmagnet school in Hernando County.

Schoelles, who has been transferred to serve as principal at Fox Chapel Middle School in Spring Hill starting in the fall, said the district has done little up to now to help her ensure that applicants reside in Hernando. She has in the past asked for a list of out-of-county students in the district so she can check those against applicants to her school, she said. She has yet to receive it.

Schoelles conceded that she should have pressed harder to get that list each year since she opened the school in 2003. The district should check tax rolls to confirm addresses as part of the admissions process, she said.

"I didn't have a good procedure in place," she said. "I'm the principal and I'm responsible for that."

Superintendent Wayne Alexander did not return calls for comment Monday.

Jackson told the School Board last week that the district has created a central admissions policy to prevent the mistake from happening again

Of the 20 students, five had Spring Hill addresses — in Hernando County — at the time of the application and evidently moved later, Schoelles said.

Schoelles said her gut tells her that none of the families aimed to beat the system.

One parent has already applied for a variance to allow her son, a junior, to continue at Nature Coast. It will be up to the board to grant or deny the request.

School Board attorney Paul Carland said Monday he will ask board members at their meeting May 19 when they want to hear that request.

"No matter what decision we make, we're going to get beat up, but it's the child I'm most worried about," said School Board member Pat Fagan. "You've got to really think hard as an individual if you're going to punish that child for the mistakes of others."

Tony Marrero can be reached at or (352) 848-1431.

Let Pasco, Citrus students remain at Hernando's Nature Coast High, principal says 05/11/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 11, 2009 7:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two Kissimmee police officers shot to death


    KISSIMMEE — Two police officers were shot dead in Kissimmee Friday night, Orange County mayor Teresa Jacobs said.

    Two police officers have been shot and killed in Kissimmee, authorities say. The shooting happened in the area of Palmway and Cypress around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Photo courtesy of
  2. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  3. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  4. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.
  5. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire



    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, relies on the help of her mother, Tranda Webb, 62, as she recovers from the burns covering her body.