1. Gradebook

Pasco School Board to lay groundwork for new schools

The district has three projects in its five-year plan.

With enrollment growth continuing and school crowding yet unresolved, the Pasco County School Board is taking steps to add three promised new schools to its inventory.

The School Board is poised to approve a 5-year work plan that includes a new middle school building on the Cypress Creek Middle-High campus in Wesley Chapel. That project would help ease the load at Long Middle and Wiregrass Ranch High.

The five-year plan also includes a K-8 school at the Starkey Ranch subdivision, aimed at lessening the burden at over-capacity schools in the Trinity area.

And it calls for a new east-side technical high school on Old Handcart Road, with the twofold purpose of providing needed training programs and further reducing crowding at the county's eastern high schools.

To help pay for these projects, the board is set to issue $75 million in certificates of participation. The revenue from this issuance would be directed toward the construction of Cypress Creek Middle and Starkey K-8.

District chief finance officer Olga Swinson told the School Board at a recent meeting that such a move would allow the district to use income from a recently increased impact fee to help pay for the east-side technical high school.

The 5-year plan and the COPS issuance both come to the board for consideration at its 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday.