Saturday, September 23, 2023

Carroll To Present Rezoning Proposal

The Carroll School Board met December 13 to narrow down options for proposed attendance zones for the opening of the district’s newest elementary school on North White Chapel Boulevard in the fall of 2011. Originally, the Board considered as many as four different rezoning options, but after seeing the number of students impacted by the proposals and the effect some options had on the district’s existing intermediate and middle school feeder patterns, Trustees directed the Administration to take just one zoning option forward to present in neighborhood meetings.

The proposal Trustees agreed to put before the public sets new boundaries for Durham Elementary and Johnson Elementary students who will be attending the fifth elementary school, relieves overcrowding at Johnson Elementary, increases enrollment for Rockenbaugh Elementary School and eliminates the split zone for Carroll Elementary School. It also locates all preschool students at Carroll Elementary and Rockenbaugh Elementary beginning with the 2011-2012 school year because these two campuses have the greatest space available long-term.

School officials say most the Durham and Johnson families affected by the proposed plan are probably expecting the change. Under the plan, Elementary #5 includes both sides of Ridgecrest Drive, Kirkwood Hollow, Wingate Hills, Hilltop Acres, Southlake Park, Loch Meadow Estates and Oak Point, moving about 100 JES students into the new elementary school zone. All neighborhoods currently in the Durham Elementary zone would be rezoned to the new elementary campus. The building would open well below capacity with seats available for future enrollment growth. The plan, dubbed Plan A, leaves all of Estes Park in the Johnson Elementary School zone, along with the future Carillon development.

Trustees would also like to obtain input on changes for several other neighborhoods under Plan A. The neighborhoods affected by the proposal would be Cross Timber Hills, Camden Park, Palomar Estates and Myers Meadow (located north of 1709 between Randol Mill Avenue and Peytonville Avenue), and Wyndsor Creek (Development I located off Byron Nelson Parkway in the Timarron area).

The single rezoning proposal has not been voted on, but will be presented during public meetings in January so that CISD can obtain feedback to share before a final decision is made. The district has created an Attendance Rezoning 2011 webpage to explain Plan A, to post and announce the times, dates and locations of public meetings in January and to collect feedback.

Under the proposed plan, elementary students in Cross Timber Hills, Camden Park, Palomar Estates and Myers Meadow would continue to go to Carroll Elementary School, but instead of splitting from their friends in the fifth grade to attend Durham Intermediate and Carroll Middle School, the students would continue in the south feeder pattern to attend Eubanks Intermediate and Dawson Middle School. Trustees say they would grandfather students who live in those neighborhoods and are already moving through the north zone upper grades (5-8) at DIS and CMS. Students interested in being grandfathered would have to fill out an in-district transfer request, which typically does not include CISD transportation. If Plan A ultimately receives Board approval in 2011, the new zone would take affect for all elementary students beginning in the fall of 2011 and going forward.

All of Wyndsor Creek is currently part of the Old Union Elementary zone. They were moved out of the Rockenbaugh Elementary zone in 2000 when the district underwent a significant rezoning for the opening of three new campuses near their neighborhoods (Old Union, Eubanks and Dawson). The 2011 proposed attendance zone plan would move the Wyndsor Creek neighborhood (Development I) that is accessed off Byron Nelson Parkway back into the Rockenbaugh Elementary zone, along with undeveloped residential land (formerly airport property) off 1709 that is currently zoned to Old Union. The part of Wyndsor Creek (Development II) that is accessed from Continental Boulevard would remain in Old Union Elementary. Trustees want to get input from residents in this neighborhood to see what they think about the plan. The change is proposed to balance enrollment amongst campuses south of 1709 the next 5-10 years. The district’s demographer projects Rockenbaugh to fall below 400 students if Trustees do not rezone some neighborhoods into that campus.

School officials are planning daytime and evening meetings with the various neighborhoods/campuses to present the proposed plan in January. Specific dates, times and locations for the January meetings will be announced by CISD soon. Trustees are hoping to vote on a final plan in February, but it could be as last as March before a vote is taken. Carroll ISD has been utilizing a four-step communications process to set new school attendance zones in anticipation of the opening of two new schools next fall. The plan was presented to Trustees by Superintendent David Faltys in October and has been available on the CISD website and on since that time. The November and December meetings were designed to give Trustees time to review and discuss preliminary rezoning options with demographer Rocky Gardiner. These meetings and pending discussions were communicated to the public through websites, media releases, the October Carroll Connection newsletter mailed to all taxpayers and a number of Dragon eBlasts. School officials say they will mail postcards to notify residents of the rezoning meetings.

Step one of the rezoning process involved setting rezoning parameters in October. Step two involved meeting with the demographer to review preliminary options and enrollment projections in November and December. Step three of the process will include public presentations to neighborhoods in January, along with opportunities to collect community feedback, and Step four of the process involves Trustees making a final decision so Administrators can develop a transition plan to implement that decision. The tentative schedule calls for that decision in February, but school officials say it could be as late as March depending on public input.

Trustees said they have been concerned with the possibility that the district’s newest elementary school on White Chapel Boulevard could open near functional capacity causing other campuses south of FM 1709 to be underutilized. Gardiner’s first three options made efforts to keep subdivisions together, provide reasonable drive times, and maintain the current feeder school patterns for intermediate and middle school students. At their November 29 meeting, Trustees asked for a fourth option to review in December. However, as news of that proposal circulated through neighborhoods that could potentially be affected, parents showed up at the December meeting to address the Board during the Public Comments portion of the agenda. The fourth option would have moved more students district-wide, but would have created a greater balance of enrollment across all elementary zones.  It would have affected neighborhoods like Foxborough, Diamond Circle, Mission Hills and Chapel Downs that are physically closer to Rockenbaugh Elementary, but have been in the Durham Elementary zone for years. After reviewing the plan, Trustees were concerned that intermediate students living in Mission Hills and Chapel Downs can now walk to Durham Intermediate, but would change under Proposal 4 to Eubanks Intermediate if Trustees put that option forward to the public. Ultimately, Trustees agreed with presenting one proposal – Plan A – at the January public meetings.

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. Students living north of FM 1709 currently attend CMS. The only proposed zoning change for the new middle school under Plan A is for those students living in Myers Meadow, Camden Park, Palomar Estates and Cross Timber Hills. Additional information about transfer requests and grandfathering of students will be forthcoming.