School rezoning talk cause for concern in West Pasco

Parents fighting change, asking for delay
Posted at 6:03 PM, Oct 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-04 18:53:16-04

The Tobey family lives close enough to Trinity’s Mitchell High school to hear the marching band practicing.

“We are just about a mile as the crow flies from the school,” said Bret Tobey.

That’s why Tobey can’t understand why potential rezoning would send his children to River Ridge High School in New Port Richey.

“It’s kind of silly to say we are going to send these kids across 10,000 acres of forest and 8 miles away to a different school,” he said.

School district officials said overcrowding at certain schools means changes have to come.

Mitchell High is at 118% capacity.

Now a rezoning committee is looking at redrawing boundaries.

“We should no longer be promising people that they will be going to a certain school with the amount of growth that’s going on in Pasco County,” said Pasco County School District spokesperson Linda Cobbe.

Parents against the rezoning are working together.

They are using social media and showing up to school board meeting en masse.

“It’s a feeling that your kids are going to be removed and upheaved and taken out of the environment that they’ve known for so long,” said parent Melissa Cook.

Cook has four kids.

One graduated Mitchell, another will soon. And she wants her younger children to do the same.

She said the best move to wait at least a year before making the changes so other options can be considered.

“For me it’s not about any of the school ratings. It’s not about going to Anclote or Gulf. They are great schools, great teachers. But I don’t know anyone there. I don’t have ties to that community. I don’t shop over there,” said Cook.

The school district is looking at building a new high school in the area, but paying for it is the challenge.

The district is also looking at redrawing boundaries in Odessa and Wesley Chapel.

It hopes to have a plan finalized by February..

Before then, they’ll be three committee meetings.

The first one is Wednesday morning, 7:30 a.m. at Seven Springs Middle School.

For more information on rezoning go to