Pasco County School board discusses rezoning with parents and students

Yellow school bus on the blacktop on a beautiful sunny day.

LAND O’ LAKES, Fla. (WFLA) — Pasco County School board members heard an earful from upset parents and students Tuesday night.

It was the first public hearing meeting to discuss new rezoning options. The proposed boundary changes could impact thousands of students in three different areas.

Each speaker had 90 seconds to state their case to the board.

One parent said, “Question is why uprooting a thousand and six combined students that are happy, have had the same classmates for years, when we could simply move the new growth to River Ridge High school that can handle it.”

A couple of sixth graders also spoke. One asked board members, “Why are we being separated from our friends in Fairway Springs? Two, why are we being kicked out of our school for construction equipment and hysteria?”

Parent Sherri Paules said, “I feel like we’re fighting against people that aren’t even here.”

Her child goes to J. W. Mitchell High School If rezoned, changes would send her child twenty minutes to Anclote High School.

Paules is not in favor of her child going to Anclote.

“We’re in an established neighborhood. We’ve already invested our time, our energy, our resources,” she said.

District leaders said rezoning has to be done to relieve overcrowding and a growing county.

Board member Alan Altman said the board has to make a decision that will best work for all students and over all, the county.

“I know majority have attended parent meetings and have gone and done extensive research and it is not an easy process,” he said speaking to parents.

Some parents feel the changes will come with a cost and ultimately impact their child’s education.

“They’re children, they’re not numbers, they’re not pawns in your game, they exist, they’re here now they’re not a construction site,” said a woman speaking at the podium.

Plans are in place to build four schools in Pasco County. But, some said they feel a fifth might be needed. An independent agency projects Pasco County Schools will see an increase of 15,000 to 20,000 new students, over the next ten years.

There will be a second reading January 17th for the recommendations that were approved Tuesday, along with another vote.

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