In the first of three meetings to select preliminary maps for boundary changes in Southwest Austin, Austin ISD’s Boundary Advisory Committee May 29 selected Plan 9 to present to the public at an open house this summer to rezone Boone and Cowan elementary schools.
To reduce overcrowding at Cowan and add students to under-enrolled Boone, Plan 9 would send students zoned to Cowan in the neighborhoods of Ridgeview, Brodie Springs, Maple Run and Deer Park to Boone, according to district documents. The plan also splits the Sendera subdivision, with students north of Davis Lane going to Boone.
Although a preliminary plan was selected, the committee will gather additional public feedback and consider any changes to the plan at a meeting July 23, according to AISD Director of Planning Melissa Laursen. From there, the plan will be submitted to the superintendent’s office and could be sent to the district’s board of trustees for final approval in the fall.
“Tonight the goal is to have a recommendation for one preliminary map [for Boone and Cowan]to present to the community,” AISD Director of Planning Melissa Laursen said at the meeting.
The committee scored plans for Cowan and Boone based on criteria that considered enrollment and population projections, a plan’s walkability, transportation impacts and how neighborhoods and major roads were used as boundaries. Of the five plans for the schools, Plan 9 scored a 20.82, putting it slightly behind Plan 13, which had a score of 21.23. Other plans ranged from 11.05-15.09.
A map of all proposed plans and the current school boundaries can be viewed here:
Sendera residents Hilary Pittman and both spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting, saying the Sendera community preferred Plan 13 because it keeps the subdivision at a single school.
“We try really hard to have a sense of community,” Pittman said.
Cowan PTA President Adam Stepan said he, too, preferred Plan 13, and that overcrowding at Cowan is in part due to the school previously being open to transfer students, not because of the current boundaries.
“This is a transfer issue,” he said. “We had 35 transfers in fifth grade who just [moved on to middle school]this week, and 79 of our current transfer students would be gone before the boundary changes go into effect [for the 2020-21 school year].”
Anderson said as much as the committee would like to keep neighborhoods together, the group should prioritize student safety, a sentiment the majority of the committee agreed with. Using Davis Lane, which is considered a hazardous road, as a boundary eliminates students crossing the road to get to school.
Laursen said the committee will evaluate and select a preliminary plan for Kiker Elementary School boundary changes at a meeting June 13. At the meeting, the committee will also receive a new scenario for Baranoff boundary changes, and will discuss possible middle school changes for the Greyrock community, she said.
Baranoff scenarios as well as how the committee plans to grandfather current students into the new boundaries will be taken up at a meeting scheduled for June 18.
Two open houses for public feedback are scheduled for July 18 and July 20, when the three preliminary maps selected by the committee in June will be on display.
The committee will evaluate feedback and recommend any changes at a meeting July 23, before sending final recommendations to the superintendent’s office, Laursen said.