Hays CISD high school attendance rezoning committee settles on single draft map before second public hearing

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The Hays CISD high school rezoning committee, which is redrawing attendance maps in advance of the opening of Johnson High School in 2019, has officially retired the first four draft maps and settled on a fifth plan that will be discussed at the second public hearing Oct. 25.

Plan 5 is similar to Plan 2, but instead of splitting a middle school—sending some students to one high school and some to another—Plan 5  makes changes to the middle school attendance zones so that each high school receives all the students from two middle schools.

The new middle school attendance zones move four subdivisions—Post Oak, Four Seasons Farm, Creekside and Brookside—from Wallace Middle School to Simon Middle School; Wallace students will go to Hays High School, and Simon students will go to Lehman High School.

Projections for Plan 5 show that in the 2019-20 school year, 1,720 students will attend Hays High School, 2,007 students will go to Johnson High School and 2,226 students will go to Lehman High School. All three high schools are built for a capacity of 2,250 students, which Lehman will reach in 2020, Johnson will reach in 2023 and Hays will reach in 2028, according to the district’s demographers.

One of the committee’s considerations throughout the process has been the distribution of economically disadvantaged students to each high school. Currently, 41.6 percent of Hays students are categorized as economically disadvantaged while the same is true for 64.3 percent of students at Lehman.

Under Plan 5, the economically disadvantaged distribution does not become more even, with 41.8 percent of students at Hays, 43.4 percent of students at Johnson and 68 percent of students at Lehman falling into that category, according to demographers.

In order to promote economic diversity, the committee is considering recommending to the board of trustees that they create a Socioeconomic Diversity Choice Program that would allow students to transfer between schools that are more than half economically disadvantaged and schools that are less than half economically disadvantaged.

The potential program would have to be developed separately from the attendance zone maps and would need to comply with state and federal laws as well as be worked out with the University Interscholastic League.

All the draft maps, along with projected enrollments in each of the high schools and other supporting documents, are posted on the Hays CISD website’s rezoning page, which also includes a button to provide feedback.

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Katharine Jose has written about politics, infrastructure, environment, development, natural disasters and other subjects for The New York Observer, Capital New York, and The New York Times, among other publications. She was an editor for several publications in New York City before she moved to Texas, and has a master's degree in urban planning from the University of Texas-Austin.
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