Pasco real estate struggles under school zoning plans

With so much uncertainty surrounding a controversial re-zoning plan for several Pasco County schools, the district is asking for help from the real estate industry.

Superintendent Kurt Browning sent a letter to realtors asking them to make clear to possible home- buyers how unsettled the situation is.

"We've just asked them to please help us by letting parents know that these are the schools that  you're currently assigned to but you're not guaranteed these for life," said Linda Cobbe, a district  spokesperson.

The district is discussing plans to re-draw its school zones. If it happens, a lot of students could find themsevles going to new schools in order to alleviate crowding at other ones.

In his letter to realtors, Browning wrote, in part:

"When parents buy a home based on the schools the address is assigned to at the time, they expect to  be assigned to that school for as long as they live in that home.  That no longer can be promised,  and we are asking realtors to make it clear to homebuyers that although they currently live within  certain schools' boundaries, that is very likely to change as population growth continues to fill our  schools beyond their intended capacity."

The letter appears to be unprecedented, Cobbe told FOX 13 Wednesday.

"I am not aware that the school district has ever done anything like that. It's become so problematic  though because of the number of families affected," she said.

Allan Sefranek, President of the West Pasco Board of Realtors, said the industry is trying to  cooperate.

"We're telling our realtors not to disseminate any type of school district information to any purchasers right now because we don't know," Sefranek said, adding that could create problems because  most families base their decisions largely on what schools their children will attend.

"It's definitely got to probably quell some people's thoughts on purchasing unfortunately, but we  understand that that's a pretty big decision for most families," Sefranek said.

The district's next step is a committee meeting Thursday at 8 a.m. during which members will discuss a plan for the southwest boundaries. Any agreement reached would have to be approved by Superintendent Browning and the school board.