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Allen ISD approves new attendance zone boundaries
Map courtesy of Allen ISD - This map shows the new elementary school attendance zone boundaries as approved by the AISD Board of Trustees. The recommendations reflect current and projected enrollment data as well as input from residents.
The new dividing lines on the Allen ISD attendance map were set Tuesday night with a unanimous vote from the school board.
The zoning map is intended to balance enrollment at the district's 17 elementary schools and three middle schools. The new plan will provide relief for Evans, Cheatham and Marion Elementary, which are all currently over capacity.
The changes will go into effect during the next school year and could last a decade.
“It's one of the toughest things that the board has to do,” said Superintendent Ken Helvey. “Unfortunately, it's a required element of growing districts. It's not something we choose to do under any circumstances.”
The attendance map presented in December was unchanged.
The vote by the school board completed a five-month process during which the district developed an initial attendance map, presented it to the community for comment and made adjustments in response. The catalyst for the rezoning process was the fall opening of the district's newest school, Lindsey Elementary, which is named after board member Lois Lindsey.
Lindsey is the last elementary school AISD plans to build. According to documents supporting the rezoning plan, Lindsey and new additions at Curtis Middle School should give the district enough room to reach full growth without adding any new schools.
The new map takes into consideration projected enrollment figures for the next 10 years, and district administrators expect it to last that long barring any unexpected developments. The district's enrollment is 20,000 and it expects to add about 3,000 more students before growth stalls and it reaches its maximum population.
“Looking over the information before the meeting,” said Jason Shepard, Place 3 Board Member, “I found solutions to individual communities concerns, but I didn't find the solution that wasn't punitive in some way or could be perceived that way to another major community.”
Community concerns and suggestions helped define the final draft presented to the school board last month, which included changes to the attendance zones for several elementary schools. Under the final plan, the Claremont Springs neighborhood will continue to attend Chandler, while children from Ten Oaks will stay with Marion, Allen Estates will go to Olson, and the downtown area will be zoned to Reed.
“[Allen Estates and Ten Oaks] had some safety concerns about crossing Exchange Parkway,” said Beth Nicholas, assistant superintendent for learner services. “There's also a convenience store with several in-and-out areas that sells beer and wine, so those were concerns they had.”
Not all community suggestions were incorporated into the final plan, including an effort from StarCreek residents to keep their community attending one school. Under the district's current plan, the neighborhood will be split down the middle, sending the west side to Lindsey and the east side to Cheatham.
Allen resident Mary McDonald asked the board to keep her neighborhood at Boon Elementary, which she said would not effect enrollment in a significant way
“It's a lot for each one of our kids to be able to finish at their own elementary school that they've been used to,” she said, “and to go through the traditions that the younger brothers and sisters have seen their older brothers and sisters get to do.”
The new plan includes several grandfathering provisions under which certain grade levels can apply to remain at their current school. For more information on the new attendance zoning, visit www.allenisd.org.
Monique Oaks contributed to this reportt
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