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Boundary changes to send 1,000 students to different schools

About 1,000 Pasco children will switch schools because of new attendance boundaries approved Tuesday night by the School Board.

The changes, which will take effect for the 1997-98 school year, are being made to accommodate the opening of Taylor Elementary School in east Pasco and to align west Pasco youngsters with the middle and high schools they will attend in the future.

About 800 of the children involved live in east Pasco and attend Centennial, Quail Hollow, West Zephyrhills and Woodland elementary schools. Quail Hollow, the most overcrowded elementary school in the district, has 1,100 pupils, nearly twice its original capacity.

Only 86 Quail Hollow pupils will move under the boundary changes because most of the relief for that school will occur in the 1998-99 school year when Sand Pine Elementary opens in the Meadow Pointe subdivision. Construction has begun at that site.

The other 200 youngsters involved in the boundary changes go to Cotee and Deer Park elementary schools in west Pasco.

Pasco uses a "feeder" system so that children from a particular elementary school move on to the same middle and high school. A new high school is being built next to Seven Springs Middle School, and changing elementary boundaries now creates the feeder system for the Seven Springs secondary schools.

District officials met with parents and maps were available at all of the affected schools. Officials received few complaints and said that after parents were given an explanation for the changes, they were satisfied.

Tuesday night, one mother whose children attend Deer Park Elementary complained about the moves. Superintendent John Long said that boundary changes are inevitable in Pasco because of growth, and that redrawing boundaries is a complicated process.

In other action, the board approved the calendar for the 1997-98 school year and tentatively approved the calendars for 1998-99 and 1999-2000. Veterans Day will be a holiday for the district, a change that veterans groups have sought for several years. The first day of school for 1997-98 will be Aug. 25.