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Pasco School Board votes to close Mittye P. Locke Elementary

The campus will become an early learning center. The rezoning process is slated to be completed by Jan. 3.
 
Mittye P. Locke Elementary School in New Port Richey will become a pre-kindergarten center starting in August 2023.
Mittye P. Locke Elementary School in New Port Richey will become a pre-kindergarten center starting in August 2023. [ JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK | Times ]
Published Oct. 19, 2022|Updated Oct. 19, 2022

LAND O’LAKES — Students attending Pasco County’s Mittye P. Locke Elementary School in New Port Richey will attend different schools beginning next fall.

The school board on Tuesday unanimously agreed to shut down the school at the end of May and convert it into a 10-classroom early education center emphasizing Head Start and prekindergarten. The board first learned of the proposal two weeks ago.

Related: Pasco proposes closing Locke Elementary, citing low enrollment

Four years ago, the board rejected a plan to shut down the aging campus. This time around, they said the district administration had made a more compelling argument and a better proposal for the students and staff.

They noted the west Pasco community has a high need for added early learning opportunities, and plenty of space at other nearby elementary schools.

“This is going to be a wonderful asset for the little ones, so when they enter kindergarten, they’re ready,” board member Alison Crumbley said.

Board member Colleen Beaudoin urged the administration to seek grants to help families afford all-day programs at the new center. Vice chairperson Megan Harding added that the district should make sure all staff members have their jobs protected.

The district expects to begin redrawing attendance zones immediately, with a town hall at the school on Nov. 29 to answer questions. It will hold a public hearing on Dec. 13 and a final vote on Jan. 3.

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