Pasco schools begins Cypress Creek rezoning

More than a thousand students will attend a new school next year due to new boundaries being drawn by the Pasco County School District. 

School administrators held a public workshop Monday night to explain rezoning, which will take effect in the 2020-2021 school year.

The goal is to address overcrowded classrooms.

“So that's tough because when we moved here there was no talk of rezoning or kids having to switch schools in middle and high school,” said parent Nicole Achter.

A plan had been in the works for a few years to build Cypress Creek Middle School, and then separate middle and high school students.

“About three years ago we built a new high school. We couldn’t afford to build the new middle school at the same time, so we open this new high school as a middle-high school. At that time we redrew boundary lines,” said Chris Williams, the Pasco County School District director of planning. “We'll shift all the middle school students in that existing facility over to that new school. And now we have additional room to bring in more middle school and more high school students.”

Children who go to other schools will be moved to Cypress Creek, prompting concerns about keeping siblings together.

“I have two daughters who are currently going to Wiregrass. One's going to be a senior for the move, and one would be a junior. And we would like the junior to be able to go here still,” said parent Rich Crespot.

Other parents worry about classroom stability.

“I think that's the sentiment around a lot of people is they may be fine with their kids starting school cleanly in a natural break. But to move them midway is disruptive,” said parent Lynne Liberatore.

The school district said it will take parents’ concerns into account, but it must address its growing population.

“The priority here is to shift some students away from the very overcrowded John Law Middle and Wiregrass Ranch High Schools,” said Williams.

Pasco County officials said seniors will be grandfathered in and their siblings will be given priority. But some parents said the process is frustrating.

“I don't think there's any answers to get until you fill out the school choice application,” said Achter. “They're not looking at other options for boundaries. It's just the one move, and that's the only option.”

There will be a public hearing on the new boundaries on Nov. 5, and that will give parents the chance to voice their opinions before the school board’s final vote Nov. 19.