The Carroll School Board met in a workshop setting Monday to take an initial look at options for future student attendance zones with Rocky Gardiner of Templeton Demographics. The Board took no action, but reviewed three initial attendance zone plans and asked to see a fourth option from Gardiner at their December 13 meeting.
Carroll ISD plans to utilize a four-step communications process to set new school attendance zones in anticipation of the opening of two new schools next fall. Steps three and four of the process will include public presentations to neighborhoods in January, along with opportunities to collect community feedback before Trustees make a final decision on new attendance zones in early February.
Trustees said they are concerned with the possibility that the district’s newest elementary school could open near functional capacity causing other campuses south of FM 1709 to be under utilized. Gardiner’s first three options made efforts to keep subdivisons together, provide reasonable drive times, and maintained the current feeder school patterns for intermediate and middle school students. Trustees asked for a fourth option to review at their December meeting. This option would move more students districtwide, but would create a greater balance of enrollment across all elementary zones. The Board asked the Administration to review functional capacity numbers for the new elementary campus and the corresponding information regarding intermediate and middle school zones based on this fourth option.
Gardiner’s first zoning option impacted only neighborhoods attending Johnson and Durham Elementary schools. The plan drops an overcrowded Johnson campus by approximately 112 students and moves students currently attending Durham Elementary to the newly constructed campus so that an overcrowded Durham Intermediate can utilize the rest of the existing classrooms in that facility.
The second zoning option impacted DES, JES and additional neighborhoods currently zoned to Rockenbaugh and Old Union Elementary Schools because both of those southern campuses are projected to experience enrollment decreases over the next 5-10 year period. The third plan presented by Gardiner impacted all five elementary schools by attempting to balance enrollment in the southern zones of the district when the new elementary in the north zone opens.
As part of the May 2009 School Bond Program, voters in Carroll ISD approved construction of two new schools in the northern region of the district. A new middle school is slated to open in the fall of 2011 on Kirkwood Boulevard just south of East Highland Avenue. The campus is currently zoned to become home to seventh and eighth graders in the current Carroll Middle School attendance zone. All students living north of FM 1709 currently attend CMS.
Depending on which option the Board decides to present to the public, several neighborhoods will be affected by the opening of the district’s new elementary school on White Chapel Boulevard just north of Dove Road. The rezoning process could affect families in as few as two CISD zones (Durham Elementary/Johnson Elementary). However, the district’s recent enrollment drop, long-term enrollment projections, available seats and building capacities at each campus and the implications of a centralized preschool program may cause additional zones/campuses/neighborhoods to be affected.
The Superintendent’s four-step plan to set zones outlines a process to 1) set rezoning standards/parameters, 2) conduct a workshop between Trustees, Administrators and Templeton Demographers, 3) hold public meetings to share recommendations/options with the public and staff and 4) implement a public input process to collect feedback before Trustees make a final decision.
Based on the tentative schedule, the process should conclude with the Board voting on new attendance zones in late January or early February. During the public input process, school officials say they will also release the process of submitting name suggestions for the new elementary campus.