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Experts: Hillsborough County school rezoning could impact people's property values

Tampa real estate agent Kristina Kuba suspects the local housing market will see a "freeze" until the school redistricting decision is finalized.

TAMPA, Fla. — This week, Hillsborough County leaders have gone from school to school informing parents about three rezoning proposals that could impact where thousands of students go to school next fall. 

On Wednesday, Plant High School parents attending an informational meeting were concerned about more than their children's education. They were also concerned about how the changes could impact their property values.

For many at the meeting, the proposed changes would push their children out of the A-rated Plant High School to other area schools with lower ratings.

"They're hurting a lot of families. Families who have kids who paid money to be in this school district," Kevin Brodsky, a local home-owner and housing developer, said. "I have a lot of clients that I've sold homes to that have paid a lot of extra money to be in the Plant district.

"If they wanted to be at a different school, they could have paid $200-300,000 less for a home, paid less in taxes, and been in that district."

"It's very concerning," Maria Landaeta said, a Plant High School parent. "I bought the property three years ago and only because of the school zone. It was located in Plant High School and Coleman Middle School." 

If the proposals go forward, Landaeta said her family would be prepared to move. 

"In the end, we're planning for them to go to this school," Landaeta said. 

Tampa real estate experts say people have paid significantly more for homes in zones with A-rated schools like Plant High School. 

"I would say anywhere from 12% on the lower end to anywhere from 20-25%," real estate investor Ryan Saldanha said.

Saldanha's wife Kristina Kuba is a Tampa real estate agent.

Kuba said, "[The homeowners] purchased at a certain price, essentially expecting a certain product. Now, this might cause a lot of turmoil in our real estate market in South Tampa because now you have a lot of families who have essentially overpaid for their homes." 

Right now, the couple's newly built home is zoned for Plant High School, but that could change under proposed redistricting.

However, as realtors, that's not their only concern. 

"Right now we're all in the unknown," Kuba said. "We don't know what's going to happen, so it does put us in a little bit of a halt of a stall with our market because now some families are going to want to hold off." 

The Hillsborough County School District is accepting feedback throughout the process. You can submit it online at home, or at one of the four informational sessions remaining this week. 

Hillsborough Superintendent Addison Davis will make his recommendation to the school board at the end of February.

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