After a monthslong development process, Dripping Springs ISD’s Administrative Attendance Zone Committee on March 29 made a recommendation to the board of trustees for adjusted elementary school attendance zones. New zones are necessitated by the impending completion of the district’s fifth elementary school, Cypress Springs Elementary School. Trustees will take a final vote on the matter at a special meeting April 12.

The option recommended by the committee—referred to as Option E during the development process—involves a zoning configuration that sends all students in the district’s southwestern region to Walnut Springs Elementary School as opposed to alternatives that would shift many of those students to Cypress Springs. This option was also the one most favored by parents and community members who offered input, according to Clint Pruett, DSISD director of facilities and construction and a member of the committee.

Under the recommended option, middle school zones would remain the same, with students at Dripping Springs and Walnut Springs elementary schools feeding into Dripping Springs Middle School, and students at Rooster Springs and Cypress Springs elementary schools feeding into Sycamore Springs Middle School. Sycamore Springs Elementary students would be split 63% to Sycamore Springs Middle and 37% to Dripping Springs Middle.

Pruett said the committee considered the possibility of funneling 100% of Sycamore Springs Elementary students into Sycamore Springs Middle but decided it was not a feasible option. That feeder pattern would add 140 students to the middle school campus, nudging its capacity over 120%.

“It would accelerate the need for additional portables,” Pruett said. “While the committee understands and favors the long-term plan that would result in that 100% feeder pattern, ultimately we didn’t think that’s manageable until capacity is added at Sycamore [Springs Middle School].”

Based on demographic projections presented March 29 by demographers at Population & Survey Analysts, DSISD will likely need to expand capacity at Sycamore Springs Middle by 2022 if Option E is chosen. A new middle school would be needed by 2026 or sooner along with new elementary schools in both 2024 and 2026.

Dripping Springs voters will have to approve a new bond before any of those hypothetical new schools could be funded—a bond that could total $218 million, a financial adviser for the district said, based on current population estimates.

PASA representatives said that while the coronavirus pandemic did stymie the district’s growth somewhat this year, enrollments are already picking up pace and will continue to do so. During the 2021-22 school year, PASA estimates DSISD will have more than 8,000 students, with enrollment edging past 10,000 by 2025 and up to around 14,600 by 2030.

Learn more about the attendance zone development process here.