The Pasco County School Board is scheduled to set boundaries for the new Starkey Ranch K-8 school at the board’s Dec. 1 meeting.
The school — part of a complex that includes a theater, library and cultural center — is scheduled to open in the 2021-2022 school year.
The board held a public hearing on the proposed boundaries during its Nov. 17 meeting, with no one stepping forward to offer public comment.
“Starkey Ranch K-8 is built to house about 1,500 students. Initially, the school will open with kindergarten through seventh-grade students. The plan is to grandfather rising eighth-graders to their existing school,” Chris Williams, the district’s planning director told the school board during the public hearing.
“Staff put together a plan to rezone about 450 students from Longleaf and Odessa elementary schools to Starkey Ranch.
“In addition, approximately 100 students from River Ridge Middle School are proposed to be rezoned to Starkey Ranch,” he said, noting the students assigned to Starkey Ranch K-8 live in the development.
“With the Starkey Ranch development continuing to build houses for the next couple of years, we expect growth of about 200 K-8 students per year, so with growth, we anticipate approximately 750 K-7 (kindergarten through seventh grade) zoned students upon opening.
“That leaves quite a few seats open for magnet school. However, we will be working to make sure we keep seats available and open for growth, in that area,” Williams added.
District staff had an open house to explain the boundary proposals, and also accepted comments via the district’s Let’s Talk portal, Williams said.
Six comments were received via Let’s Talk.
“One person requested Asturia to be zoned for Starkey Ranch; one requested the Woodlands neighborhood of Longleaf to be zoned for Starkey Ranch. Others had questions about Starkey Ranch registration and grade configurations,” Williams said.
The district also is recommending a slight boundary shift affecting the Watergrass and Wesley Chapel elementary schools.
The change is being made as a result of the Epperson Ranch subdivision, Williams said.
“That area of Epperson Ranch being developed goes all of the way up to Tindale Road.
“You’ll also notice a small sliver above Tindale Road that has a few houses. Originally, when we were developing this plan, there were no elementary children who lived there who were attending the zone of Wesley Chapel elementary, but come August, one student did move into that area. We’ve been talking among ourselves. They will be rezoned to Watergrass Elementary, but if they choose to remain at Wesley Chapel Elementary, we plan on accommodating them,” Williams said.
Additionally, Superintendent Kurt Browning does not intend to reset school choice for any of these schools that are affected by the boundary changes and grandfather children in with transportation.
The final public hearing on the proposed boundary changes for Starkey K-8, as well as Watergrass and Wesley Chapel elementary, is set for 9:30 a.m., on Dec. 1, in the board chambers at district headquarters, 7205 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., in Land O’ Lakes.
Published November 25, 2020