Pasco’s struggling west-side schools need ‘bold and decisive action,’ board member says

The board plans a workshop before the end of the year.
Pasco County School Board member Alison Crumbley wants her colleagues to take a closer look at making improvements to west-Pasco schools.
Pasco County School Board member Alison Crumbley wants her colleagues to take a closer look at making improvements to west-Pasco schools.
Published November 21

Nearly a year after rejecting the administration’s plans to reorganize and revamp west Pasco schools, the School Board members who halted the proposal say they’re ready to revisit the concept.

“With additional very serious reflection, I believe that some bold and decisive actions are warranted now,” board member Alison Crumbley said during Tuesday’s board meeting.

Students and families in the schools along the US 19 corridor, where academic results have been middling at best, deserve new and better options, Crumbley said, “even if consolidation might be necessary.”

Crumbley joined colleagues Colleen Beaudoin and Megan Harding early in 2019 to kill a proposal that would have closed Hudson and Mittye P. Locke elementary schools, using the savings to create a variety of improved offerings in the campuses that remain. The recommendation would have included a magnet school at Marlowe Elementary and a Cambridge feeder pattern at the Northwest Elementary/Hudson Middle/Hudson High campus, among other initiatives.

Their decision prompted the district administration to create a more slow-moving plan to add programs to the schools in the region over a few years. Meanwhile, the Dayspring Academy charter school moved to capitalize on the inaction, acquiring new property and expanding its enrollment to meet growing demand.

Crumbley first called for a workshop back in the summer, and reiterated her request this week. She said she knew district officials had been working on innovative approaches, and suggested those need to be on the table for the entire board to consider.

“It’s imperative we give our students and parents additional choices in their education,” she said, stressing the importance of more magnets, a focus on early childhood learning and the availability of wraparound community services.

Beaudoin, now the board’s chairwoman, said she agreed that the time has arrived to take a renewed look at what’s happening for west-side schools, with an eye toward accelerating the action. Harding said she also was ready for the conversation to occur, with added input from the schools and the people they serve.

Sensing the board’s newfound urgency, the administration quickly moved to schedule a workshop on the issue. It is set for Dec. 17 before the board’s 6 p.m. meeting.

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