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IMAGINE SCHOOL GETS GREEN LIGHT FOR BUILDING

DADE CITY

Imagine School at Land O'Lakes, which has been at odds with the Pasco School District officials over its expansion plans, got a preliminary green light Thursday from county officials for a new building on Sunlake Boulevard. The charter school would be 43,000 square feet and house up to 728 students in kindergarten through eighth grade at a site on the southeast corner of Sunlake and Mentmore boulevards, near State Road 54. The school would be the third phase of a development that includes 576 apartments. The approval, given by the county's top officials sitting as the Development Review Committee, came a day after officials at the charter school sat down in mediation session with the school district over the size of its enrollment. Earlier this month the School Board rejected Imagine's request to add more students next year, citing the school's declining student population and possibly troubled finances. Imagine, which is run by a Virginia-based chain, proposed mediation on the issue, with its representatives saying the charter cannot get financing for its new, larger school if it can't win the district's approval for more students. Imagine initially sought permission to have 650 students, but school officials agreed this week to about 584. The agreement still needs School Board approval.

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