There are changes on the horizon for students and parents of Waxahachie ISD. But before any big move across town to a shiny new building, the district will have to rezone the city to fill Wilemon Elementary and Coleman Junior High.
District officials provided parents with three potential plans for the new elementary and junior high school zones in an open forum Tuesday.
“The district has seen substantial growth,” WISD Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Glenn stated. “We’ve grown over 1,000 kids in just in the last three and a half years and as you know the district continues to grow with the majority of that growth being north of 287.”
Along with each rezoning plan, a forecast and a grade report were discussed. The forecast report elaborated on the number of students attending each school and foreshadowed when each school would meet functional capacity, which is when the schools reach about 90 percent capacity. When functional capacity is met, that’s when rezoning occurs, portables are brought in, or new schools are built.
The grade report displayed the number of students in each grade at each school but focused mainly on the economic disadvantage at each campus.
Clyde Melick, the assistant superintendent of facilities, said, “One of the things that we really want to get to is equity at all of our campuses."
Three plans for rezoning middle schools were discussed: one plan was considered an attendance zone plan while the other two were feeder options. The feeder plan takes certain elementary schools and feeds those students into pre-assigned junior highs.
ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGE PERCENT PER HIGH SCHOOL
Attendance zone plan one:
Coleman – 56.2%
Finley – 30.8%
Howard – 51.3%
Feeder pattern one:
Coleman – Marvin, Shackelford and Wedgeworth ED = 47.5%
Finley – Clift, Northside, Wilemon ED = 52.2%
Howard - Dunaway and Felty ED = 40.2%
Feeder pattern two:
Coleman – Marvin, Shackelford and Wedgeworth ED = 45.3%
Finely – Dunaway, Northside and Wilemon ED= 48.5%
Howard – Clift and Felty ED = 46.8%
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“Keep in mind that nothing we talked about tonight is set in stone. We are looking for feedback tonight," Glenn assured. "We are looking to you to take some of the ownership with us and to be a collaborative effort. We know there are imperfections in the plans and so tonight is the first step of many to make sure we have a rezoning plan and have a successful 2018."
The first parent to approach the microphone asked if his child were to be zoned for Wilemon Elementary, would he have the opportunity choose to not participate the STEAM academy.
Glenn responded, “We are looking at the overwhelming number of applications that we’ve received. There could be the possibility that if space is available on another campus, you will have that option as well as an attendee of the Wilemon zone.”
Another parent voiced her concerns that if her child was zoned in Wilemon that they wouldn’t have opportunities outside of science, engineering, and technology. She wants her child to have a background in music, art, and physical education.
Glenn confirmed that arts would be included in the curriculum.
The third parent to approach the microphone expressed concerns with stability among students, as they have already moved once after being rezoned in 2014. He asked if students would be grandfathered in.
Glenn said a rezoning survey was put out, which found parents were in favor of neighborhood schools. He shared how it was challenging to keep the schools close to the homes due to the massive growth above 287, and the schools are south of that area. Trustees put out a proposal to build a school above 287, but it was not passed. He also encouraged parents to write notes on the rezoning plans if grandfathering is essential to them.
Parents also asked where the Waxahachie High School of Choice would be located. Glenn confirmed that it would be located at the current Waxahachie High School (future site of Coleman Junior High) at the Billy Bates Center. The School of Choice will not share common areas with Coleman Junior High.
One father asked if his child were to be zoned at Wilemon if there was another rezoning in the next couple of years, would their child possibly be taken out the STEAM learning environment.
Glenn replied, “I’m not going to stand up here and tell you it’s impossible, but I can tell you that we were strategic with Wilemon. With Wilemon, we really tried to lock it in below 287, hoping our zones for Wilemon and Dunaway won’t change in the future.”
At the end of the meeting, parents had the opportunity to look at enlarged versions of the maps and noted their suggestions. Rezoning maps can be found at www.wisd.org.
There will be a review and possible approval of Waxahachie ISD 2018 Rezoning Plan March 19 by the Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustees. Between March and April, the district plans to publish the final rezoning plan.
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