Questions remain around students’ future if Hedrick Elementary closes

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More than a month after the bond package for the May 6 election was finalized, questions still remain on what will happen to current or would-be Hedrick Elementary students should it pass.

The Lewisville ISD school board put a bond package up for a vote in February that would tear down both Hedrick middle and elementary schools, but only rebuild the middle school. The board and the Facilities Advisory Committee, which made recommendations on which items the board should or should not place on the bond, held that it would be a better use of space to expand the middle school and send the elementary school population to other nearby schools with capacity. The board says it cannot rebuild both the elementary and middle schools to current district standards on the plot of land they currently share.

Superintendent Kevin Rogers has consistently said that specifics of redistricting and transitioning Hedrick students to new schools are decisions that will be made two to three years down the line if the bond passes and it would be irresponsible to speculate on them now. But parents are still in the dark about where their children will go and whether or not they’ll receive the same level of care they do at Hedrick.

Rogers said he has five or six possible plans that the rebuild process will go off of. The Lewisville Texan Journal has been asking to see these plans for several weeks, but they have not been produced.

“It’s two plus years down the road. I don’t know what it benefits us to have conjecture of what schools might be affected,” Rogers said. “All I can tell you is that there are legitimate plans, and there’s a lot of different combinations.”

Hedrick parents have also expressed concern about the school’s many amenities. Hedrick serves free breakfast every day for every student, provides free school supplies, pays for field trip transportation and maintains a Chin translator on staff. Rogers and the school board have been adamant that these services will follow Hedrick students wherever they may go, but after several weeks of questioning, the district has not provided insight into how much those services currently cost.

Based on the district’s 10-year population forecast presented to the FAC, the nearby Vickery, Garden Ridge, Forest Vista and Parkway elementary schools are all under capacity. Forest Vista in particular has a lot of room — its projected enrollment for this school year, 504, is more than 300 fewer than its optimal capacity of 832.

The bond item to not rebuild Hedrick Elementary includes provisions to add 10 more classrooms to Vickery, adding about 200 to its capacity, despite it also being more than 100 students under its current optimum of 634. Additionally, Vickery’s population is projected to shrink until the 2020-21 school year.

Vickery, Garden Ridge and Forest Vista are all in Flower Mound.

Assuming that these schools’ capacity will be used to take Hedrick Elementary students, it’s still unclear whether students currently in Hedrick’s zone could be split between nearby schools, or if other zones will be rearranged, sending students from Vickery or Forest Vista to a new school as well.

The Lewisville Texan Journal has an outstanding open records request with the district.

The district has an informational website on the bond at www.lewisvilleisdbonds.com.

The bond election is May 6. Early voting will run April 24-May 2.

1 COMMENT

  1. Also to be considered is that the FAC declined to add an addition to Bluebonnet Elementary in Flower Mound to the bond. Per the forecast posted in the story, Bluebonnet is almost at capacity now, and will be well over capacity every year for the next 10 years. So, those additional kids will also have to be rezoned among the four closest schools with capacity: Old Settlers, Donald… and Garden Ridge and Forest Vista, the last two being possible recipients of Hedrick kids as well. The LISD Board has commented often that there is sufficient capacity in nearby schools to absorb Hedrick’s kids; if that is so, why is there $3.1 million allocated to “Potential 10 Classroom addition to existing ES” as part of the Hedrick Middle School only rebuild? Words have meaning. If there is sufficient capacity, why add on to another elementary school? Or, is the actual truth “We don’t have enough capacity now, but when we add 10 rooms on to Vickery and put other nearby schools near max capacity, then we will have sufficient capacity”? And this is providing that a lot of Bluebonnet’s kids are not going to be rezoned to Garden Ridge or Forest Vista at the same time as some of Hedrick’s kids. Rebuilding Hedrick Elementary could help alleviate overcrowding at schools east of Hedrick and would not move Hedrick’s kids into Flower Mound feeder schools so that those schools could more easily absorb the overcrowding at Bluebonnet.

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