Parents ask Pasco schools to reconsider closings

Upset parents voiced their concerns about the possible closure of three elementary schools in Pasco County.

The district argues its a move to save money, but a few hundred parents came together Thursday night to let the district know they are not on board.

Parents met at Lacoochee Elementary School hoping to get their questions answered, but also hoping to sway board members and save their children's school from closing.

“Just to see it shut down," fifth-grader Nathaniel Adams said. "That’s really emotional for me. That’s really hard on me.”

Students and parents with signs in hand, called for the district to reconsider their plans to close Lacoochee Elementary in May 2019.

“The classes might be smaller," parent Sharon Adams said. "But the kids that need that extra attention are getting it. You these kids, they’re going to be lost.”

Along with Lacoochee, the district plans to close Hudson Elementary and Locke Elementary due to declining enrollment at all three schools.

“It’s excruciating to hear people so passionate about their school," Pasco County School Public Information Officer Linda Cobbe said. "We feel for them. We have to balance that out with the services we have to provide with the resources that we have.”

Community members and parents encouraged the district to considers alternatives. Parents, like Savannah Harris hope the district instead looks at possibly turning the school into a STEM school.

“It would give people a reason to come here," parent Savannah Harris. "It sets us apart from the other schools on the other side of the county.”

District officials argue the alternatives presented simply aren’t viable solutions.

“It is not an easy place to get to. It’s remote," Cobbe said. "So it would be very difficult to attract people here just because of the location.”

In order for the district to close the school, the school board will have to approve it. A vote will happen at the next school board meeting December 18.