After months of debate and hundreds of questions, concerns, and comments from parents, the McKinney ISD Board of Trustees officially approved the new high school zoning map on Tuesday evening. The map has gone through two public iterations and the second map, released last week, was approved by a unanimous vote of the board during Tuesday’s board meeting.
“That is over,” MISD Board President Curtis Rippee sighed with relief after the rezoning map was approved. The vote was met with applause from the parents who filled the board chambers to express their support for the rezoning decision and express their gratitude to the board members and MISD administrators for their work on the rezoning map.
District officials initiated the rezoning process due to overcrowding at McKinney Boyd High School. With the new map, each of McKinney’s three high schools will be at 90 percent capacity when the 2014-2015 school year begins.
The initial rezoning map upset many parents in the Wolford Elementary school neighborhood (shown below) because the initial map split up Wolford’s students with some zoned to attend Boyd and others zoned for McKinney High School.
After receiving feedback from parents online and through a telephone town hall meeting, the board ultimately decided to address the Wolford parents’ complaints and adjust the map last week. The new map upset some parents from the Pecan Point neighborhood because their children, who attend Walker Elementary, will now be split amongst Boyd and McKinney High.
Several of those parents spoke during Monday’s second telephone town hall meeting, but the board ultimately decided that the revised map was the best course of action for MISD’s future. The issue of splitting up that neighborhood was one of much consideration for the board members during the rezoning discussions. Rippee said that one of the factors that made that a difficult decision for the board was “what makes a neighborhood a neighborhood?”
He continued, “Is it by elementary school or HOA? There’s no perfect solution. You have to have some means of delineation. I felt like we had to find a demarcation in that neighborhood.”
The line of demarcation the board settled on is a creek that bisects that area. “That neighborhood (above the creek) is less than two miles to Boyd,” MISD Superintendent Dr. JD Kennedy said. “Those students can walk to Boyd. So there’s no need for additional bus transportation there.”
Bussing was one of board’s main considerations when choosing the new zones. During Monday’s telephone town hall meeting, Dr. Kennedy told parents that the district is “trying to keep neighborhoods together (with the new map),” but that the new rezoning map will reduce bus routes by four, which will save money for the district.
The district had five parameters that it used when determining the new zones. Those parameters were:
- Proximity to the schools creating boundaries that will reduce eligibility for bus transportation services to schools.
- Socio-economic diversity
- Utilization of space with future and current needs in mind
- Boundary stability
- Keep students in neighborhoods intact throughout their school career Pre K-12.
According to MISD, all of the approved rezoning parameters were treated equally and no one factor overruled any others when making zoning decisions.
The exact attendance figures for each school are not currently known because of the grandfathering option for any students whose high school zone has changed. MISD approved grandfathering for any high school students who would be affected by the zoning change. This would allow the affected students to remain at their current high school for their entire high school career.
As part of the district’s approved grandfathering rules, siblings will be allowed to remain together at the same school while the older sibling is in high school.
In addition, if a student chooses to grandfather into his or her current high school, it will become the student’s (or their parents’) responsibility to provide transportation to the student’s current high school. The district has stated that it will not provide bus transportation to their current school because the students would now be outside of that school’s existing bus routes.
During the open comments section of the board meeting before the vote was held, several parents complimented the board on their hard work in devising the new map and expressed their support for the map.
One parent said that she had served on a rezoning committee during previous MISD rezoning efforts and said that this round of rezoning was a much smoother process. “I know how much time and thought and heart goes into this process,” she told the board. “I think the participation has been greater this time. And I believe that the new map maximizes the parameters set by the board.”
Dr. Kennedy also complimented the community on their participation and engagement in the rezoning process. “I really appreciate the respectful manner with which the entire community has approached this,” he said. “Thank you for all the comments.”
The previous high school zoning map is shown below.