Saturday, December 16, 2017
Education

Rezoning committee makes progress on southwest Pasco school boundaries

After weeks of positioning and anxiety, a committee of parents and school officials on Wednesday dug into the details of redrawing attendance zones for southwest Pasco middle and high schools.

The group, which spent its first meeting talking more than doing, examined several possible changes to ease crowding at Mitchell High and Seven Springs Middle while filling vacant seats at other nearby campuses. Among the possibilities:

♦ The southern portion of the Deer Park Elementary zone would move from the River Ridge zone into the Gulf zone.

♦ The Starkey Ranch subdivision would be split in half, with part going to River Ridge and part to the Mitchell-Seven Springs zone.

♦ Longleaf would be rezoned from Mitchell to River Ridge.

The committee also looked into the details of moving the zones for the Asturia, Meadowwood, Oak Ridge, Riverside Estates and Cotee River areas. They focused on issues such as ease of travel and student diversity while discussing the pros and cons of each sector.

Planning director Chris Williams advised the group not to try to involve communities attending Fivay or Hudson high schools. The goal, he told them, was to solve growth and crowding issues in the southwest for the next five or so years.

He also reminded participants to look at the big picture, and not simply represent themselves and their personal agendas.

Members praised the process, even though some retained some overriding hesitancy with its direction.

"They've been very, very open-minded in looking at what's best for kids and the district as a whole," said Michelle Williams, Anclote High principal.

Parent David Davis, who has pressed to delay this process, said he thought Thursday's conversation went well.

"I know it can be done," Davis said. "There are still questions about the real numbers regarding out of zone students," he added.

The committee reached no final conclusions. It plans to resume conversations on Nov. 7 at River Ridge High School.

See the meeting packet for more details on the conversations.

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