The school superintendent in Pasco County recently reached out to real estate brokers to spread the word to potential home buyers about rezoning schools in the future.
His main point: home buyers might not always find themselves in the same school district as rapid growth in the county will lead to rezoning schools.
“It is unfair to allow families to believe that the homes they are buying come with certain schools when the county’s growth is at its current rapid pace, requiring rezoning to keep schools from becoming over capacity,” Pasco County School Superintendent Kurt Browning wrote in a letter to Tampa Bay Area Realtors.
Browning made the appeal against the backdrop of rising school attendance and concerns from parents about getting moved out of their current districts.
Pasco County’s Growth Issues
Pasco County has experienced an explosion in school enrollments in the past few years as families have flooded into the area. Housing in Pasco County often offers more affordable prices than the Tampa area.
However, the county’s attractive qualities have also led to school crowding. The district reports that high schools in the county already have exceeded capacity. As can be seen in this map from the school district, schools in both the central and north parts of the county will reach more than 100 percent capacity this year.
In some cases, the overcrowding has reached extreme levels. For example, Wire Grass High School will reach 147 percent capacity this school year, according to the district.
Parents Clash Over Changes
School district officials have started the process of redrawing the district boundaries. They have a goal of completing the process by February 2017. The changes would take effect in August 2017. The rezoning schools effort will change the schools for many students, perhaps thousands.
Parents on both sides of the issue have clashed over the changes. Many do not want to change districts, while others welcome the change. Parents in Trinity Preserve recently started an email campaign asking the district to keep their children in the Seven Springs Middle School and J.W. Mitchell High School zones, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
With all the above happening, Browning reached out this month asking for help from realtors.
Knowing Zones Can Change
Browning’s letter to the Tampa Bay Area Realtors highlighted something that all buyers should know: if you buy a home based on the school district, which many parents obviously do, then you need to know that districts can change.
This proves especially true in high growth areas such as Pasco County. Browning noted that as many as 12,000 new students might get added to the county’s schools with the new homes purchased along the Highway 54 corridor.
“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,” Browning wrote. “That cannot 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 message for buyers is clear. While historically school districts remain more or less static for long periods of time, districts in high-growth areas such as Pasco County can change over the many years most families own a home.