Frisco ISD is preparing to present recommended attendance zone changes for the 2017-18 school year during the next regular School Board meeting on Monday, November 14.
The decision to delay the opening of four new schools means that no rezoning is expected this fall in areas that would have been relieved by the new schools.
District leaders are planning an efficiency study to take a more in-depth look at facility usage after zones are approved for the 2017-18 school year. This will examine attendance zones across the District as a whole and set the stage for a larger-scale rezoning effort next fall.
“We believe now is a time to take a pause and do only what is necessary in regard to relieving overcrowding and adjusting attendance zones,” said Deputy Superintendent for Business Services Dr. Todd Fouche.
In October, the Board made the decision to delay the opening of four new schools for one year. This saves more than $15 million in operational costs in 2017-18, as FISD works to build a sustainable and balanced budget for next year and beyond based on the priorities of the District. A several-months-long process involving staff and community stakeholders is currently underway to develop recommendations for long-term strategies and opportunities for cost savings.
The fact that student enrollment grew this year at a slower pace than anticipated has made the decision to delay the opening of the new schools a bit easier for FISD officials. No temporary rezoning of students attending the schools awaiting relief will be necessary prior to the opening of the new campuses in 2018, Dr. Fouche said.
Memorial High School, located at 12300 Frisco Street, will now open with grades 9-11 in 2018 and will relieve Lone Star, Heritage and Wakeland high schools. In 2017-18, Lone Star is projected to reach 2,096 students; Heritage, 2,219; and Wakeland, 2,205. Although crowded, this situation is not unlike others faced previously in the District until a new school could open, and the staff and leadership at each school are already planning ways to address the larger enrollments. Additionally, there is no concern for changing UIL classifications, as projections for Memorial High School will be included with the other schools in fall 2017 for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 realignment.
Lawler Middle School, located at 12921 Rolater Road, will open in 2018 to relieve Vandeventer and Scoggins middle schools. It will also relieve Wester Middle School, as Wester is where enrollment capacity is currently being utilized for students moving into the Vandeventer zone. New middle school students who live in the Vandeventer zone will continue to attend Wester Middle School with transportation provided from Vandeventer to Wester. Current fifth graders living in the Vandeventer attendance zone may attend Vandeventer as sixth graders. Fifth graders who enroll on January 17, 2017, or after will attend Wester Middle School as sixth graders for the 2017-18 school year. District officials say they will continue to monitor the enrollments and will make further adjustments if needed. Current projections show enrollment at Wester for 2017-18 at 991 and 1,163 at Vandeventer.
Talley Elementary, located at 5900 Coit Road, will open in 2018 to relieve Curtsinger and McSpedden elementary schools. As of Tuesday, November 1, Frisco ISD capped enrollment at Curtsinger Elementary School and it is closed to new students. Enrollment has exceeded 820; Curtsinger, Smith and Rogers elementary schools do not have the same capacity as the other 37 FISD elementary schools and cannot be allowed to reach 860 before a cap on enrollment is implemented. Students enrolling from this point will enroll at Shawnee Trail Elementary, as they did during the 2013-14 school year. Almost all students will live within two miles of Shawnee Trail and will not qualify for bus services. For those living outside of two miles from Shawnee Trail, transportation will be provided. In 2017-18, projections show that Curtsinger will have 800 students and Shawnee Trail will serve 669 students.
Liscano Elementary, located at 11222 Mammoth Cave Lane, will open in 2018 to relieve Mooneyham, Norris and Sem elementary schools. Projections for 2017-18 show that Sem will get to 824 students and Mooneyham to 863 students. The District will closely monitor enrollment at Mooneyham and will cap it if necessary. There are schools in the area with the capacity to enroll new students. Mooneyham and Sem both have portable classrooms on site to help with larger enrollments.
These temporary measures will handle growth in these areas until the four new schools open, Dr. Fouche said. Rezoning this fall will focus on providing overcrowding relief where needed immediately, if it is an adjustment that will hold for some time – at least two to three years – and allow the District to delay the construction of future schools. Leaders will also look at a few adjustments that will clean up boundary lines, align feeder patterns where possible and balance enrollments, particularly in areas where there are currently no or few students.
The school with the projected enrollment that needs to be addressed most immediately is Comstock Elementary, which is projected to have 914 students in 2017-18, while other schools in the area may have declining enrollment or capacity for growth. There is an elementary site in the Craig Ranch south area, but District officials believe that adjustments can be made that could delay the opening of that school for some time.
“We know we have schools in the District that are projected to grow to 800 plus students in the next few years and we know we need to address that growth,” Dr. Fouche said. “At the same time, we have schools with declining enrollments and we have decisions that need to be made regarding some of our special programs in order to meet federal and state requirements. What we don’t want to do is to make a decision now for a short-term solution without adequate time and data. We want to take our time with the facility usage and efficiency study, so that when we present it to the Board, staff and the community, everyone will clearly see the big picture of what we need to accomplish and what that means for us long-term in regard to new schools and build out of the District.
“As was also stated previously, we want to see if this slight slow-down in enrollment, which still makes us the fastest-growing school district in the state, is a blip or if it is a current trend,” he added. “Our goal in preparing our proposals for the Board at the November 14th meeting is to make as few adjustments as possible for 2017-18 in preparation for making the best possible decisions for 2018-19 and beyond.”
FISD encourages all parents to stay informed. Any families potentially impacted by a proposed change will be notified via email following the November 14th meeting and the FISD website will be updated in a timely manner as well.
Parents may direct questions and seek information from Shana Wortham at firstname.lastname@example.org or 469.633.6037. All emails and correspondence will be shared weekly with the Board.
An opportunity for parent input will be provided at the regular meeting of the Board on December 12, with a final decision expected at the regular meeting on January 9. The meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. at the FISD Administration Building, 5515 Ohio Drive. A communication will also be sent to parents impacted following the final decision in January.
For more information and answers to Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the rezoning website.