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Discussion of Liberty High School Transition Plan
(Excerpt from September 12, 2005 Board Highlights)

The Board held a work session prior to the meeting in addition to a special meeting held in August to discuss how to handle secondary enrollment increases in the eastern portion of the district.

Last year, based on the high school enrollment projections at that time, it was apparent that Centennial High School would need relief in 2006, just as Frisco High would be receiving with the opening of Wakeland High School as a small 9-11 campus.
Those projections for the eastern area of the district indicated at the time that drawing a Liberty High School zone and opening Fowler Middle School as a Liberty High School Ninth Grade Center for one year would sufficiently relieve CHS. High school enrollment has surged, however, in the eastern areas of the district, and the plan that was proposed to open a Liberty High School ninth grade center no longer appears to be workable as it does not take enough students out of Centennial High School.

Centennial High School is currently serving 2,089 students and is adding students each day. Enrollment projections for 2006 under the concept of opening a Liberty High School 9th Grade Center show Centennial with 2,160 in October, and we believe that is low.
The preferred plan being considered by the Board and Administration at this time is to create the new Liberty High School zone and opening the school at the Fowler Middle School site for one year with 9th and 10th graders. This would place Centennial High’s enrollment for 2006 at a projected 1,854 and Liberty at 668 students. In the following year when Liberty High is located at the new site at Rolater between Independence and Custer, there would be a projected 1,773 students at Centennial High School and a projected 1,250 in grades 9-11 at Liberty High. All current projections indicate that high school #5 will be needed in 2009 and it will probably be located at the site in the northeastern area of the district.

Opening high schools with 9-10 graders was the preferred transition plan recommended by the Multiple Secondary School Transition Committee several years ago and was the plan used when Centennial High School opened in 2003. It is not ideal that the new high school facility cannot be ready in 2006, but modifications can be made in the new middle school building to provide equitable facility standards.

Academic programming will provide equitable opportunities as well. In regard to activities, students who participate in activities that allow individual advancement will be able to compete at a varsity level in 2006; this includes activities such as band, choir, theatre, golf, tennis, swimming, wrestling, power-lifting, track, debate, etc. Team activities will participate at a junior varsity level in the first year and will be placed in a varsity schedule/UIL district in the second year with the exception of football. The varsity football team will play a complete non-district schedule in 2007, fielding a 10-game schedule with teams who can accommodate them, many of them possibly being private schools. This is done in many districts all over the state as they transition into opening new high schools.

The question came up regarding creating a ninth grade center for all ninth graders in that area of the district. This is only a short term solution, because in 2007 when Liberty opens, half of the 10th graders would go back to Centennial High School and it would be overcrowded again.

Last week, the District was considering a 9-11 grade plan similar to what is occurring at Wakeland High School, but that plan was eliminated due to the issues of a middle school facility vs. high school.

Officials will continue to evaluate this plan and a work session of the Board will be scheduled to discuss programming, staffing and other transition issues regarding FISD high schools; all the high school principals will be in attendance. A parent meeting will also be held and it will be led by Liberty High School Principal Mike Waldrip. He will make a brief presentation and then field questions from parents who may be affected by this plan.

In the meantime, parents with questions or comments should contact Mr. Waldrip at waldripm@friscoisd.org. A map of what is being considered at this time is included on this page.

The final decision on this zone and grade configuration will be made by the Board at the Oct. 10 regular meeting.