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Pasco school district, Imagine charter head to mediation

Pasco school district officials could not have been more clear when the Imagine School of Land O'Lakes asked to expand its enrollment next year.

The School Board resoundingly rejected the request, listing the school's declining student population and possibly troubled finances among its reasons.

That hasn't stopped the charter school, which is part of a larger Virginia-based chain, from pushing the issue. Imagine has proposed mediation on the issue, with its representatives saying the charter cannot get financing for a planned a new, larger school if it can't win the district's approval for more students.

The district has agreed, at least, to talk.

"If we were not willing to come to the table ... then we would not be showing responsibility," said Nancy Scowcroft, the district's charter schools supervisor.

Scowcroft would not speculate as to how far the district is willing to bend, saying only that the state-appointed mediator will try to bring both sides together on May 11 for a "reasonable resolution" acceptable to all.

If the sides do not reach agreement, Imagine might turn to the state Division of Administrative Hearings for further review. Its development plans for the site on Sunlake Boulevard north of State Road 54 have not yet received county approval.

Posted by Jeff Solochek at 11:22:40 am on May 05, 2011