It is a topic that agitates parents like almost no other that a school board trustee would deal with, but Lewisville ISD Superintendent Kevin Rogers held a workshop with the board Tuesday night to address it. Preferring not to speak of the “R” word as Rogers referred to the topic of rezoning schools, the board instead discussed “boundary adjustment considerations.”
For most of the discussion, only the board members could see the maps of proposed options for several elementary schools across the district. The handful of audience members and press there heard Rogers and the board talk about “Option 1” or “Option 2” while Rocky Gardiner of Templeton Demographics fiddled with unlabeled maps projected overhead.
The board took no action Tuesday night on rezoning other than to express a consensus to the administration on a few of the items.
Although LISD’s board agenda website has the capability of displaying backup material for the agendas, the district did not upload the maps for the public to see or post any documents explaining the zoning issues.
Maps shown on overhead screens did not have legible labels, were not well synchronized to the discussion, were not able to be compared to existing zone boundaries. No pointers were used.
The Lewisville Texan Journal contacted the district prior to the meeting to request every document the board would be reviewing. Wednesday morning LTJ contacted the district for the maps and received them minutes before our print deadline Friday afternoon.
Trustees were presented with school attendance zone boundaries for several areas. Rogers explained future changes in most cases and a prior change in one case that needed ratification by the board.
The prior change involved a zone change on the eastern side of the district that had been put through without board approval several years ago. The Hills of Kingwood housing addition in the northeast portion had been zoned for attendance to Arbor Creek Middle School rather than Griffin Middle School, which is closer.
The Austin Waters neighborhood had been zoned to attend Killian Middle School but was adjusted to be in the Arbor Creek Middle School zone.
In October, the board will be asked to ratify both of these decisions. Rogers said they had been brought to his attention last fall.
As far as future rezoning, Rogers also asked the board to look at the eastern portion zones, pointing out the split non-adjacent zones for five elementary schools and noting that the future Josie Lane Elementary School, which opens in fall of 2020, would necessitate boundary adjustments.
According to current school zone maps, those boundaries put some students attending elementary schools that are not the closest or even second-closest to their neighborhood.
The Austin Waters housing addition is zoned for Hicks Elementary, but most parts of the neighborhood are closer to at least nine other elementary schools than Hicks. Residents of the Hills of Kingswood are closer to three other middle schools than they are to Arbor Creek where they are zoned.
Rogers asked the board whether they wanted to adjust some boundaries there or look at the bigger picture of the zones in that portion of the district. The board indicated a consensus to try to work on the bigger picture and to start fixing the issues now. Rogers noted that it would take some time.
In Lewisville, zones will likely shift to affect Central, College Street and Lewisville elementary schools. Central Elementary currently has the larger population, with College Street serving only a fraction as many students. With the passage of the district’s 2017 bond program, the plan is to build a new elementary school on the district’s property along Mill Street just down the street from Central.
The new school would not open until August 2019 at the earliest.
The draft map provided by LISD shows the future College Street elementary in the wrong place, on the site of the current LISD school bus yard at Purnell and Railroad Street.
Materials provided for the 2017 bond election show the new campus at the current location of the Purnell Support Center near the intersection of Mill Street and Purnell. Both zoning options showed the actual site of the new elementary out of its own zone — details to be worked out before a plan goes out for actual consideration.
Generally, both options push the College Street zone further south into Central’s current territory. This allows Central Territory to cross I-35E into the area bounded by SH 121 and Southwest Parkway that is currently zoned for the Lewisville Elementary Campus. Lewisville Elementary is currently at 784 students enrolled for 2017/18, but optimal capacity there is 713. The current enrollment at College Street is 239. Plans call for a new capacity of 981.
Rogers said the district would hold public meetings about any zone changes, then bring them to the board at a later date. The district might also choose to grandfather in students who would prefer to attend the schools they are currently attending.
On the western side, trustees discussed rezoning between Bridlewood and Flower Mound elementary schools. Three options presented would bring some or all of the town of Double Oak into the Bridlewood zone. The move would change Bridlewood to have the bigger population.
Zones for Bluebonnet and Old Settlers elementary schools might also be adjusted. There is a lot of recent housing development in the southern areas, and the administration would like to accomplish any needed zone shifts prior to some of the areas being inhabited. Old Settlers Elementary is below optimal capacity.
The Lewisville Texan Journal will publish more information about any possible zone changes as it is made public by the district in coming months.
Student transfers and appraisal district nominations
In other business, chief schools officer Joseph Coburn and Andy Plunkett, assistant chief for high schools, provided the board with an update on the status of intra-district transfers for this school year and the prior year and explained the causes for approval and denial. An intra-district transfer is when a student moves from the school for which their residence has them zoned to another school within LISD.
The district currently allows these intra-district transfers as long as the student maintains good attendance, grades and discipline, passes the STAAR end-of-course exams, and the school they want to transfer to has the available capacity to accept them.
The question put to the trustees by Rogers was whether the board wanted to continue to use STAAR exams as a criterion. Board consensus was to abandon that portion of the requirements.
The board also voted to nominate four candidates to serve on the Denton Central Appraisal District Board of Directors. The candidates nominated were Mike Hassett, Roy Atwood, Charles Stafford and David Terry.
The board will cast LISD’s ballots in November.
Watch the meeting video online: http://lewisvilleisd.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=121
- Bridlewood, Flower Mound
- Bluebonnet, Old Settlers
- College Street, Central
- Killian, Griffin
- Current LISD Zone Map (2017/18)