Frisco ISD Looks at Attendance Boundary Modifications

Nov 10, 2020

Frisco ISD is proposing attendance zone changes for the 2021-22 school year to effectively utilize space, balance enrollment in existing schools and promote student opportunity. 

District administration presented draft zones to the School Board during its regular meeting on Monday. The proposals include:

  • An attendance zone for the new Emerson High School, opening on the far eastern edge of the District with students in grades 9-10. The proposed zone includes all the residential areas in Frisco ISD located east of Custer Road.

  • Adjustments to the zones for both Centennial High School and Heritage High School, which risk exceeding the University Interscholastic League (UIL) cutoff for 5A schools during the next realignment and reclassification, which will be based on enrollment numbers in October 2021. Although it is unclear what number the UIL will use to determine classifications, the cutoff for the current alignment was 2,219 students. If approved, students impacted by the changes would attend the same high schools as their middle school classmates, whereas now they split to a different campus than their peers.

  • Modifications to relieve Liscano Elementary and Nichols Elementary, which exceeded capacity during the 2019-20 school year. Under the proposal, some students currently zoned to Liscano would be reassigned to Mooneyham or Sem elementary schools. Some students currently zoned to Nichols would be reassigned to Hosp, and to create additional capacity at Hosp to relieve Nichols, some Hosp students would be reassigned to Bledsoe Elementary.

  • An adjustment to the Norris Elementary zone that would return students to Ashley Elementary, which has experienced declining enrollment.

View the Board presentation with all the proposed maps.

“These proposed changes address growth in our district while leveraging existing classroom space in schools where enrollment has stabilized or may be declining,” said Scott Warstler, executive director of operations. “As Frisco ISD gets closer to build out and our growth slows, we expect more of our zoning solutions to be found by maximizing the utilization of open capacity at existing schools rather than new school construction.”

New and growing programs, such as Pre-Kindergarten and bilingual classes or choice programs such as International Baccalaureate (IB) are also factors that can impact zoning considerations. These programs, which draw students from outside each school’s attendance zone, are not reflected in attendance zone maps but must also be accounted for. 

Overall, enrollment in Frisco ISD continues to increase. The District added more than 800 new students since October 2019, although that figure is about 1,300 students less than projected prior to COVID-19. 

Over the last few years, the District has noted a shift in new student enrollment, with growth primarily at the middle and high school levels. This has served to put additional pressure on enrollment numbers at Frisco ISD high schools, where FISD strives to limit enrollment to approximately 2,100 students. 

Proposed changes to the zones for Centennial and Heritage high schools are driven by the community’s long standing desire for smaller high schools with a wealth of opportunities for students. In 2017, FISD surveyed the community regarding its high school model, with 80 percent of respondents wanting to continue the so-called “small schools” or “student opportunity” model. Four in five people who took the survey said the high school model factored into their decision to move to FISD, and in 2018, voters supported the continuation of this model with approval of bond funds to build the District’s 12th high school.

“The community has consistently told us they like smaller high schools and value the opportunities this model affords their students,” Warstler said. “In order to preserve the same level of opportunities for students at Centennial and Heritage, we are proposing minor adjustments to their attendance zones starting with the 2021-22 school year, and we expect to have to make additional tweaks in the coming years in order to maintain a 5A classification for all our FISD high schools.”

Monday’s presentation was the first step in the rezoning process. Parents with questions or input regarding the proposed changes may call 469.633.6031 or email zoning@friscoisd.org. Input will be compiled and communicated with School Board members on a weekly basis.

In addition, an opportunity for public comment will be provided during a special Board meeting on Tuesday, December 1 at 5:30 p.m. Trustees hope to make a final decision at the regular Board meeting on December 14. 

Click here to learn more about attendance boundary modifications in Frisco ISD.

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