Battle over rezoning boundaries has parents in Pasco County upset

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A battle continues to brew in Pasco County over the school district’s rezoning efforts.

Some parents are taking legal action against the school district as they try to keep their kids in the schools they’re already in.

Witnesses from both sides, parents as well as the district, took the stand Wednesday at a hearing at the School Board building.

Parents told the judge how they believe rezoning would cast a dark cloud over the children’s futures.

Larondar Stone is one of those parents.

She told the administrative hearing judge about her 14-year-old daughter, who’s part of the competitive Wiregrass High School marching band.  Rezoning would mean Niah going to another school and that’s not sitting well with her mother.

“Unfair,” Stone said.  “Unfair.  It’s hard for her. She is a very smart kid, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t need the support that she has gotten since she’s been there.”

Parents questioned why Superintendent Kurt Browning rejected the rezoning committee’s recommendations.  They also claimed they didn’t have enough opportunities to provide input and claim they were allegedly kept in the dark.

“I didn’t receive any notifications, emails, phone messages, letters,” Doug Wood told News Channel 8.  His three children would go to three different schools if the rezoning plan goes through.

The reason for the rezoning is to alleviate overcrowding at some schools now, as well as taking the county’s growth into consideration.

Parents also claim some meetings took place behind closed doors and that could be a violation of Florida’s Open Meetings Act.

“I will have three children at three different schools, trying to figure out which child I’m going to support,” Woods said, wondering how he would be able to handle it all.

Meantime, Stone went on to say “that my child is not going to excel in the new school, because she’s been ripped out of the community and the school she’s in.” She said she is in this fight for the long-haul.

District officials deny the parents’ allegations.

They said the school board gave parents plenty of notice about the meetings and they were given the opportunities to be heard.

If the judge sides with the district, the rezoning takes affect for the next school year.  He has 30 days to make his ruling.

Parents have also filed for a request for a temporary injunction against implementing the new boundaries.  A Circuit Court Judge will hear that argument on June 2nd at 9 a.m.


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