“Rezoning schools is a very emotional issue,” MISD Chief Communications Officer Cody Cunningham told TownSquareBuzz.com. “We work hard to minimize the impact. But when you move in a fast-growth district like McKinney, there’s no way to avoid rezoning.”
Cunningham said the need for rezoning is due to the over-crowding at Boyd High School. “Boyd is over capacity,” Cunningham said. “The expansion of McKinney High is to alleviate the load at Boyd. Some students will be rezoned out of Boyd. There’s no way around it.”
Cunningham said the hope is to limit the rezoning to the high school level. “I can’t say that we won’t rezone middle schools but we’ll try to avoid it,” he said.
Cunningham said the district has held no official discussions about the specifics of rezoning yet and has not set dates for formal discussions, but says the district hopes to have the process completed by January. “Ultimately, whatever decision is made will take effect for the 2014-2015 school year,” Cunningham said.
“It’s too early to tell how many students could be changing schools,” Cunningham said. “We want to make it clear that the district hasn’t had any conversations about rezoning with specific neighborhoods. We’re working on putting together a timeline now.”
The first step in the rezoning process is the hiring of a new demographer for the district. Cunningham said the district set out to find a new demographer last year to “make sure we have the best value for the services they are providing.”
Cunningham said the district has contracted Templeton Demographics to review MISD’s demographics and zoning. “They work with districts all over the state, including Fort Worth and Plano,” he said.
Cunningham said that Templeton’s first task is getting acclimated to the district. Then the demographer will review current demographics, growth patterns, potential future growth, enrollment projections, new home projections, boundary planning and several other factors. “They will look at all the schools and determine if there’s any overcrowding,” Cunningham said.
Before deciding to rezone any students, Cunningham said the district will first consider the student’s proximity to their current school, the capacity of the schools, access to major thoroughfares, and other factors.
He also said that he believes the district will “strongly consider” allowing students to “grandfather into a school” and not be forced to change high school. “In an ideal situation, you’d allow the student to finish at the same school where they started their high school career, as long as there is room at the school,” he said.
Cunningham said the district will seek input from parents before finalizing any rezoning plans. “The district will have plenty of information available to the public before any decisions are final,” he said.
Districts around us are rezoning every year until they build out,” Cunningham said. “But we do try to minimize that when possible. You do it because schools are overcrowded. We want to make sure that we are utilizing our campuses effectively.”