Leander ISD approves charter to begin elementary rezoning for 2021-22

Leander ISD’s board of trustees approved an attendance zoning charter which will be used to develop detailed elementary school enrollment zones that will be enacted in the 2021-22 school year.Leander ISD’s board of trustees approved an attendance zoning charter, which will be used to develop detailed elementary school enrollment zones that will be enacted in the 2021-22 school year. (Courtesy LISD)
Leander ISD’s board of trustees approved an attendance zoning charter which will be used to develop detailed elementary school enrollment zones that will be enacted in the 2021-22 school year.Leander ISD’s board of trustees approved an attendance zoning charter, which will be used to develop detailed elementary school enrollment zones that will be enacted in the 2021-22 school year. (Courtesy LISD)

Leander ISD’s board of trustees approved an attendance zoning charter which will be used to develop detailed elementary school enrollment zones that will be enacted in the 2021-22 school year.Leander ISD’s board of trustees approved an attendance zoning charter, which will be used to develop detailed elementary school enrollment zones that will be enacted in the 2021-22 school year. (Courtesy LISD)

The rezoning of up to nine Leander ISD elementary schools in August 2021 is in its beginning stages, and LISD parents have already started expressing concerns.

At the Feb. 27 regular meeting, Leander ISD’s board of trustees approved an attendance zoning charter, which will be used to develop detailed elementary school enrollment zones that will be enacted in the 2021-22 school year.

Before the vote and during citizen comments, five LISD parents—all from the Hazelwood neighborhood near Akin Elementary School—spoke out against possible future rezoning from Aklin and frequent rezoning in the past.

To accommodate the Palmero Ridge development and overcrowding in nearby elementary schools, Nancy Tarvin Elementary School will open in Leander in August 2021. Still, Akin, Camacho, Larkspur, Mason, Parkside, Plain, Pleasant Hill, Rutledge and Whitestone Elementary schools are predicted to be at 120% capacity or greater within five years, according to the district.

All five residents who spoke were critical of the frequent rezonings that Hazelwood has experienced.


The first speaker, John Lack, said he and his family moved from Central Austin to Leander in 2016.

“The No. 1 reason why we made the move is because of the outstanding schools—specifically, Akin, ... a school we can see from our house,” said Lack, who has a 5-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter. “For the fourth time in eight years, the Hazelwood district is going to be redistricted. The new school is 30 minutes [away], round-trip.”

The second speaker, Grace Vander Laan, said she moved into Hazelwood in 2015.

“In my five years in Leander, we’ve already been in three elementary schools in my house,” she said.

Board president Trish Bode reminded the audience that the rezoning is in its early stages.

“We have not yet said what neighborhood will go to what school,” she said.

In August, a new middle school enrollment zone will take effect with the opening of Danielson Middle School in Leander.

Jimmy Disler, LISD’s chief facilities and operations officer, has worked for LISD for 34 years and said he has seen multiple enrollment rezonings at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Disler said he understands parents’ frustration, but there is not a lot the district can do in the current climate.

“In a fast-growing district, we’ve got to deal with [the growth],” he said. “In four years, there could be a whole new subdivision that could force another [rezoning].”

Trustee Jim Mackay suggested informing citizens who are considering moving into LISD of the possibility of having their school zones change. He proposed adding a button on the LISD homepage that said, “Thinking about moving here? Here are some things you should know."

Trustee Grace Barber-Jordan said a similar feature had once existed on the district website but is no longer there.

From March 12-26, LISD staff will collect community reaction to several proposed zoning scenarios. From March 27-May 1, LISD will host a minimum of two public forums. After a May 14 meeting discussing the proposed zoning changes, trustees plan to vote for the new elementary zones May 21.

From Jan. 28-Feb. 11, LISD conducted a survey in an attempt to measure the community’s priorities with regard to elementary school zone changes, according to LISD documents. The online survey, which resulted in 4,278 responses and 1,076 comments, asked people to rank a set of priorities. The top four priorities of the respondents were:

  • school size: relieve overcrowding and reduce class size;

  • school proximity: closeness to school, keep neighborhoods together;

  • minimize change: avoid multiple rezones of students; and

  • feeder patterns: keep students together as they transition to next school.



A bilingual survey was also held, drawing 157 responses and 44 comments. The top four priorities there were school proximity, feeder patterns, minimize change and school size, according to LISD.



MOST RECENT

Photo of a sign that says "Travis County"
Travis County establishes new emergency rental assistance program for 2021

The program will provide $10.7 million in aid to county residents struggling to pay rent due to the pandemic.

Plank Seafood Provisions opened inside The Domain in late March. (Courtesy Richard Casteel)
Seafood spot opens in The Domain; All Star Liquor now serving Georgetown and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Federal funding is set aside for public schools to address effects of the pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Why Texas has not yet distributed $18 billion in federal funds intended for public schools

As budget decisions loom for school districts across Texas, state leaders are holding on to federal funds intended for public schools to use in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Z'Tejas
Austin restaurant group Z'Tejas to open new Avery Ranch location

Z'Tejas will open a third Austin-area location with a large patio before the end of 2021.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine wait after receiving their shot at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin on March 13. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
National supply issues with Johnson & Johnson vaccine affect Austin-area shipments

After a manufacturing error ruined 15 million doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the supply will not increase until the plant in Baltimore is once again allowed to participate in production.

Here are the most recent coronavirus updates from Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County reported more than 250 new COVID-19 cases April 9-11

Here are the most recent coronavirus updates from Williamson County.

The studio celebrated its grand opening April 11. (Courtesy Müv Dance & Fitness)
Müv Dance & Fitness now open in Leander

The studio celebrated its grand opening April 11.

Romeo's Pizza held its Georgetown groundbreaking April 6. (Courtesy Romeo's Pizza)
Romeo's Pizza coming to Georgetown; Vacancy Brewing opens in South Austin and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Austin Public Health holds a vaccination clinic at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Coronavirus updates from Austin, Travis County; governor bans 'vaccine passports' and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from Central Texas.

Jack Allen's Kitchen will be at 1345 E. Whitestone Blvd., Cedar Park. (Rendering courtesy Jack Allen's Kitchen)
ROUNDUP: 7 eateries coming soon to the Cedar Park-Leander area

These seven restaurants plan to open this year in the Cedar Park-Leander area.