Leander ISD’s administration recommended new attendance zones for some of the district’s middle school and high school students May 11, as several schools are projected to run out of room in the coming years if attendance zones remain in their current state.

The big picture

The school district has been facing unbalanced growth across its boundaries with student populations projected to increase in the north. LISD passed a school bond May 6 to fund expansions to its facilities, vehicles and technology. However, to maximize the space at its campuses and defer some of the construction of new schools, district staff recommended a scenario that would move 1,414 middle school students and 1,482 high school students to new schools for the 2024-25 school year.
  • Students from 10 neighborhoods within the Danielson Middle School jurisdiction would move to Leander Middle School.
  • Seven neighborhoods would move from Danielson Middle School to Wiley Middle School.
  • Two Leander Middle School neighborhoods would fall under Running Brushy Middle School’s area.
  • Six neighborhoods would transfer from Stiles Middle School to Henry Middle School.
  • Six neighborhoods from Henry Middle School would move to Cedar Park Middle School.
  • Students from 13 neighborhoods within the Glenn High School jurisdiction would move to Leander High School.
  • Students in 13 neighborhoods from Leander High School and six neighborhoods from Vista Ridge High School would move to Cedar Park High School.
What else?

LISD outlined several exceptions for rezoning. Middle school students going into eighth grade for the 2024-25 school year as well as juniors and seniors in high school would have the option to remain at their zoned campus if they complete a transfer request and provide their own transportation. Siblings of students who remain at their own campuses would also be eligible to remain at their current schools.

How we got here

Leander ISD’s board of trustees began considering a change to attendance zones after the district received its an annual demographics report in November 2022, which indicated the district’s overall student population could grow from around 3,800-13,500 students in the next 10 years. Middle schools, including Stiles and Danielson, were projected to reach 131% capacity by the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school year, respectively. Meanwhile, Glenn High School was projected to reach 124% capacity by the 2025-26 school year. So the board then approved the district begin the rezoning process, which included community forums throughout February and March to gather feedback from families, resulting in changes to the zoning scenarios based on concerns presented to LISD staff.

Quote of note

Concerns from community members in LISD related to increased daily commutes and traffic congestion as well as the task of moving a large number of students into a new campus at one time. Superintendent Bruce Gearing said while the changes to zoning are likely to impact students’ and families’ routines, the district is trying to look at the long-term benefits for LISD.

“The goal of this rezoning is to push [construction of] High School [No.] 8 off the table entirely, which is [an estimated] $500 million,” he said. “Then, to push out high school [No.] 7 as long as possible, hopefully until 2029. In order to do that, there are some growing pains that we’re going to have to go through.”

What’s next

The board of trustees will decide whether to approve this rezoning recommendation at its June 8 meeting. The new attendance zones would be implemented in August 2024. Parents and students can also learn more about the rezoning and neighborhood attendance codes on the LISD website.