Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Pasco County school district to reopen choice applications

Pasco County families will get another chance to try to send their children to schools other than the ones they are zoned to attend.

The school district plans will reopen choice applications for a second round, even though it remains embroiled in a dispute over the fate of boundary lines for some west-side schools, supervisor Tammy Rabon told the School Board.

Decisions on students seeking to move into and out of Mitchell High and Seven Springs Middle will be delayed until after the rezoning plans for those campuses are settled, Rabon said.

School Board attorney Dennis Alfonso has asked the board to hold a special meeting on May 29 — after an administrative hearing judge has completed a hearing on a parent's challenge of the rezoning — to vote on the proposed boundary changes for those schools.

Related: Pasco School Board delays attendance zone decision

He said the board can act on the superintendent's recommendation while awaiting the judge's ruling, which would be due 30 days after the hearing ends. It would not become final unless the judge agrees with the district's stance that its procedures were appropriate.

Parent Jim Stanley has argued that the board did not follow state rule making law in setting the proposed attendance zones. The board postponed a vote, which had been set for May 1, because of the complaint.

Alfonso suggested the board act soon, so it can move on the changes quickly if they are eventually approved. Classes resume in August. Board chairwoman Cynthia Armstrong agreed.

"That will give us some direction on where we need to move forward with the planning, in hopes we prevail in the hearing," she said.

In the meantime, open enrollment into other schools will continue. But access to many of the campuses will be limited, Rabon warned.

The board has set 90 percent capacity as the limit for accepting new students from outside the zones.

"Many of our schools are already at that point," Rabon said.

See the list of frozen schools here.

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