Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

School choice, program options are many in Pasco

LAND O'LAKES — Pasco County students and parents face a broader array of education options as the district's 2014-15 school choice application window opens.

District officials are touting several new opportunities for families to consider if they want to attend a school other than the ones that their children are assigned to. They include a recently started aeronautics academy at Sunlake High, and an on-campus virtual program called Infinity at Stewart Middle and Zephyrhills and Anclote high schools.

The district also is starting the advanced Cambridge program at Pasco Middle and Pasco High, although the application deadline has passed. These additions come alongside existing choices such as high school career academies, International Baccalaureate, gifted programs and the K-8 model at Crews Lake.

None of the options come with district transportation.

Superintendent Kurt Browning has set a goal of expanding the district's offerings to meet student needs, and turn around a stream of children who have headed to private and charter schools in Pasco County. Planners are working on establishing magnet programs, such as science and engineering, at Sanders, Quail Hollow and Shady Hills elementary schools as they are rebuilt, for instance.

They also are looking at a 6-12 grade configuration for a new school that will be built in Wesley Chapel in the coming few years. Plans for a "blended" home/classroom learning program at Wiregrass Ranch High have been put on hold after receiving limited interest.

Families also can apply to any school that has open seats. But as usual, close to half of the district's schools are likely to be closed to open enrollment transfers because they already have met or exceeded their capacity.

The list includes 14 of 46 elementary schools, five of 15 middle schools and six of 13 high schools. Planning director Chris Williams said another eight schools are likely to be frozen for choice as well, two because they are under construction and six because they are close to reaching capacity and they sit in high-growth areas.

That doesn't mean you can't submit requests to attend those schools, though, as their enrollments can shift and seats might become available. In many years, in fact, the district's most crowded schools have received the most choice applications.

District spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said families seeking to take advantage of any of the options must apply online this year at, as the schools will not be taking paper applications.

Students who already have received choice reassignments do not have to reapply, unless they come to Pasco from another county or they have moved residences, Cobbe said.

Out-of-county applicants must provide proof of permission from their home district along with their applications.

Student-athletes who transfer high schools will have to make a separate appeal to the district's Athletic Transfer Participation Committee if they wish to continue playing sports at their new school. Otherwise they are considered ineligible for one year.

The district will take choice applications through March 1. It expects to provide decisions to families who meet the deadline by the end of the current school year. Parents would have three days to file a written appeal if they don't like the outcome.

In recent years, the district's choice rejection rate has climbed to close to 30 percent, as schools have had to meet state class size requirements. Before that, close to 90 percent of families received their choice requests.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at, (813) 909-4614 or on Twitter @jeffsolochek. For more education news visit the Gradebook at

School choice

The Pasco County school district is accepting school choice applications through March 1 at Several schools are expected to be closed to choice because of crowding, although seats in special programs might be available. The current list, which might change, includes:

Elementary: Anclote, Chasco, Connerton, Cypress, Double Branch, Giella, Hudson, Moon Lake, New River, Northwest, Oakstead, Odessa, Pine View, Sand Pine, Schrader, Seven Oaks, Trinity, Veterans, Wesley Chapel, West Zephyrhills, Woodland (Quail Hollow and Shady Hills are temporarily closed)

Middle: Centennial, Long, River Ridge, Rushe, Seven Springs, Weightman

High: Land O'Lakes, Mitchell, Pasco, Sunlake, Wesley Chapel, Wiregrass Ranch, Zephyrhills

School choice, program options are many in Pasco 01/31/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 31, 2014 1:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Car bomb kills 13, injures 24 in Baghdad; Islamic State claims responsibility


    BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad just after midnight today, killing 13 people and wounding 24, hospital and police officials said.

  2. Leaping shark floors angler in Australia


    In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's protagonist battles for three days to pull in his prized catch. For Terry Selwood, it came a little more suddenly.

    A 9-foot shark lies on the deck of a fishing boat at Evans Head, Australia on Sunday. Fisherman Terry Selwood said he was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the shark struck him with a fin as it landed on him on the deck. [Lance Fountain via AP]
  3. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  4. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber


    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  5. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]