Preliminary Baranoff recommendation will send Oak Creek Parke and Palomino Park to Kocurek Elementary

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The Austin ISD Boundary Advisory Committee’s preliminary recommendation to redraw the Baranoff Elementary School boundary includes sending current Baranoff students who live north of Antelope Run to Kocurek Elementary School.

Plan I—selected by the BAC on June 18 to be presented for public feedback at two open houses in July—would lower enrollment at Baranoff to 112% of the school’s capacity in three years while increasing enrollment at Kocurek to 92% capacity.

In the plan, families in the neighborhoods of Oak Creek Parke and Palomino Park would be rezoned to Kocurek and receive bus service to the new school. Families in the Greyrock neighborhood would be sent to the new Southwest Elementary School in the plan, which can be viewed below.

Boundaries at Baranoff—currently projected to be overcrowded at 122% capacity for the 2019-20 school year—and other South Austin elementary schools are being redrawn to rebalance enrollment across the area beginning in the 2020-21 school year. Last week, the BAC selected a preliminary recommendation for the new Southwest and Kiker elementary schools while a recommended plan for Boone and Cowan elementary schools was selected May 29.

Plan I’s new map was created because the three other scenarios being considered for Baranoff brought enrollment at Kocurek close to or above 100% capacity, which could have added portables to campus, according to Beth Wilson, AISD executive director of planning and asset management.

Other proposed plans included options to move sections of Shady Hollow neighborhood to Kocurek or to shuffle students currently zoned to Baranoff in Olympic Heights to Menchaca Elementary School and Hillcrest students at Menchaca to Kocurek.

While Plan H—which involved Olympic Heights and Hillcrest—scored highest in enrollment criteria, it scored the lowest based on the committee’s secondary criteria and was dismissed as an option. BAC member Joel Bergh said he felt the plan directly affected too many families and would add unnecessary transportation costs for the district.

Plans F and G were ultimately dismissed because the BAC felt enrollment at Kocurek would increase by too many students.

Other BAC action

The committee unanimously approved shifting middle school boundaries for students in the Greyrock neighborhood. Currently zoned to Bailey Middle School, the community will be shifted to Gorzycki Middle School once the new Southwest Elementary opens.

The boundary change will allow elementary students from the neighborhood to move to Gorzycki with the rest of their classmates at Southwest Elementary. Rising seventh- and eighth-grade students at Bailey will be grandfathered into the new zoning.

For elementary school boundary changes, the BAC approved grandfathering rising fifth graders and their siblings for one year, allowing fifth graders to complete elementary school at the campus to which they were previously zoned.

The BAC also approved a recommendation to freeze schools that are sending students elsewhere due to overcrowding—Baranoff, Kiker and Cowan—to transfer students for five years.

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  1. Well it looks like shady hollow and brodie springs screwed us in oak parke. They made a push for a last second map to be added, months after the first maps were put in place, and guess what? That is the map they picked. We are the scapegoat for this project. Now that these other neighborhoods are out of the running I can guarantee their amount of involvement will diminish as well. Their property values are saved, mine just dropped significantly. They said “one community” over and over yet here we are. Backroom deals to save their neighborhood. I am sure Brodie Springs used some influence ($$$) to get what they wanted. They are just as far from Baranoff as us yet we are the ones getting sacrificed for their benefit.

    • Brodie Springs used zero money in influencing any of these decisions. None. Don’t for one second start spewing out that we are rich and entitled. We are not. We worked equally as hard for every single dime we have ever made. My husband and I came from nothing and put ourselves through college. We picked smart degrees and were able to utilize them. We then had and still are paying off our student loans. So don’t go pointing fingers and saying we have money to pay off anyone. We don’t. And our morals are to high to do so. And our property values were never at risk. Neither are yours. You were not “sacrificed “ for our benefit. We fought equally as hard as you. This came down to numbers and addition of portables. My children are still losing classmates and friends with this decision.

    • I’m personal friends with Robert Mueller and he told me(based on the evidence) that Brodie Springs colluded with Russia and Shady Hollow to enact their agenda. It’s irrefutable at this point. Once the special prosecutor gets appointed everything will be exposed.

    • Honest question

      What happens, when Oak Parke parents put their kids in private, charter or just move? How many parents are going to send their kids to Kocurek?

      Most of the folks in OP have the means to choose other options. Curious what happens when they do.

  2. I am so happy Brodie Springs is saved. I had no intention of sending my kids to Kocurek of it passed anyway but now I am glad we don’t need to pay extra for private schools. This is a solid win for our HOA. We deserve this and our kids shouldn’t be forced to help out the struggling students at Kocurek. We have firmly protected our kid’s status and our property value.

    • You are a troll Sara C. Our neighborhood is small and we all know each other. You are NOT our neighbor. We don’t talk like this- so quit trying to speak for Brodie Springs. We all think this sucks and we fought hard for everyone. We don’t feel good about Palomino Park or Oak park being moved.

  3. Andrea Albrecht

    Guess how many kids live in Palamino Park that attend Baranoff? 8. Some of them would even be old enough that by the time they rezone they are either in Middle School or grandfathered in. They are going to disrupt the education of 4 children from this neighborhood and turn their lives upside down for basically no relief to Baranoff. Guess how many pre-k aged kids will be old enough for Baranoff by the time this change takes place? 1. My child knows about this and is devastated. She loves her school and will be too young to be considered for grandfathering. Honestly what AISD needs to do is an audit to see how many outside of the zone kids are attending by using a family members address or living in the Bell Austin apartments and moving prior to the school year starting. I know of more kids doing this than live in our neighborhood and it seems like the school is shying away from the hard work an audit would bring. Also I think the BAC is bias. There is a member of the BAC that lives in an area that was up for possible rezone and really used their power on the committee for their own benefit. It’s unfortunate.

    • I'm moving to Canada if my candidate doesn't win!

      People in Olympic Heights shouldn’t have to leave Baranoff. They live right next to the school and they physically walk there. Palamino Park is much closer to Kocurek than Baranoff. Literally half the distance.

        • Brodie Springs has less students than Oak Parke. Less students will be affected by the chosen map than any other map. Kocurek could not handle a large influx of students per the Principal, the district didn’t want to add portables and transportation budget would have to be added with map H – all reasons map I was selected.

    • This is what happened to our neighborhood in far West Oak hill over the years, we go to Baldwin which is a great school but are closer by a large margin to Oak Hill, Mills, Kiker, Patton, and Clayton. Our bus pickup time is just after 6AM for elementary which is cruel… And at any given time there are only about 6 – 8 elementary age kids in our area. Our area is basically boundary fodder and we get screwed any time there are changes because there’s not enough representation for us to matter even when it’s completely illogical.

  4. You’re Wrong

    First – calling out other neighborhoods is so wrong. Map H was requested by a BAC member and was developed to see what the numbers would do if OH went to Menchaca. Map I was developed because the Principal of Kocurek stated she couldn’t take on as many kids as they had planned in many of the maps. It was absolutely NOT a neighborhood pushing for a map! You should attend meetings, ask questions instead of placing blame on your neighbors. I suggest you blame the BAC as they are the ones that came up with the maps and ultimately chose I.

    • Olympic Heights Doublecross

      I whole-heartedly agree that the decision of the BAC last night was biased by the member from Olympic Heights. I think it is unethical not only that he could vote but that his voice was the one that swayed the committee to eliminate map H. His bias was not considered. He financially benefits from nixing that map. The committee seemed confused and ill-informed throughout the meeting. I don’t know how they can make a decision without confidence in their own numbers. Honestly, last nights minute has eroded my opinion in AISD as a whole and has made me want to send my child to another public school system. AISD appears poorly organized and lacking in strong leadership.

      • By all means send your kid somewhere else then

        There is not some weird OH conspiracy theory. Should that committee member not voted? Sure. Would it even have made a difference? No. Everyone else except one person voted to eliminate map H.
        Why? Because it’s one of the few neighborhoods that is legitimately within walking distance. It takes my child 10 min walking to get to school. Faster if he bike rides. He can stay on the same sidewalk the entire way through neighborhood roads. So really enough with the drama.

    • That vote shouldn’t count. A voting member of the committee that lives or has any monetary interest in a neighborhood in question, should not get a right to vote. Someone needs to bring this up to Cruz and have another more informed meeting.

      • That’s not a rule

        They are volunteers and choose to be on the committee. They do not have any guidelines set forth about “bias” because it’s voluntary. Even if he didn’t vote, the map would have been shot down. He didn’t motion to have it removed another BAC member did. Everyone except one member was in favor of removing the map. The main reason it was shot down was because the amount of kids affected. It would be nearly 200. In addition, buses would have to be added increasing AISD spend.

          • It doesn’t matter

            If Joel was removed, it still would have been voted down. The lady in yellow motioned to have the map removed NOT the OH member. She raised the first concern and the last concern. The fact that OP would have a bus as well as PP changed the BACs opinion. Buses would have to be added for OH as they are walkers now. When it comes down to it, money talks and the whole strategy has been and will be the least amount Of kids affected and the least budgeting increase for the district. If y’all were at the meeting, you would see clear as day the reasoning for map I.

  5. I didn’t want to get too involved with all the politics but I firmly believe that the Shady Hollow and Brodie Springs folks will be judged harshly for this. They threw us to the wolves. They bullied their way through the system. They ignored our pleas. Here we are, they screwed us. They lowered our property values.

    • How so? We always fought for the entire area on Brodie to stay at Baranoff. We don’t have any power over anything. We also don’t think we are in the clear either. Sounds like you just want to hate on us- oh but that’s right you don’t want to get too involved in the politics. Just throw the first stone.

    • Judged harshly? Wow! Your pleas did not go unheard. We fought just as hard. The part that I’m really amazed about is that Shady Hollow and Brodie springs were not worried about our property values. Nope. Not one bit. In fact, property values going down would be nice, we’d save in taxes. The only time we have seen the argument about property taxes has been coming out of other people’s mouths. Your property value isn’t going down. You live in Austin. Brodie Springs has understood this.
      We also don’t bad mouth or criticize others. We stand together.

  6. Seriously? We bought our home based on the zoning of the schools. At the time we were zoned Kiker,Bailey and Bowie. Schools that had students with high passing rates on the standardized tests. Kocurek receives government money (Title 1) to give those kids a better chance of achieving their education goals. If they can’t do it w/ the numbers they have- they don’t need more students. Yes – I do believe if I was in the market for a home I would still look at the schools the home was zoned.

    • House Available Soon

      If anyone wants a great ranch house on 3/4 an acre right at Brodie and Slaughter that at this time will still be Bailey and Bowie keep an eye on MLS. Coming soon! Stability in education far outways education for us!

        • I’m not going to use some “fake” screen name to leave comments because I have nothing to hide. I would love for you to please identify yourself publicly so we can discuss this openly. I don’t want ANY of my friends or neighbors to leave our community. There are so many rumors & so much misinformation being spread via forums like this because there is no accountability due to the opportunity for anonymity. I welcome you to call me anytime to discuss. My cell: 512-294-6298

        • Yes! If I were to sell, I’d only use the Bara Team. They are amazing people and very devoted to this entire community. Oak Park included. They have been to every single meeting and have written more emails pleading to AISD to just leave our boundaries alone. They were here in the very beginning, fighting for all of us, even before many of you knew there was a fight happening. They’ve always put all of us first.
          I can say, I’ve never seen a Deana Davis put up a fight for any one of you. Nope. She’s been a ghost. She’s not been at a single BAC meeting, not a single CAC meeting. Nothing. The Bara’s are not happy about losing such an amazing community. They are still currently fighting for Oak Park.
          So. Yes. This amazing team, you are calling names are anything but that.
          And I’d suggest, if you do need a good realtor, hire one that loves and fights for your community. The Bara’s do.

          • 1. Dena Davis doesn’t live in the neighborhood anymore. 2. Dena Davis doesn’t have elementary school aged children. 3. The Baras are very nice people, but don’t attack other people for no reason. #bebest

  7. For the zillionth time literally nobody from Shady Hollow threw anybody under a bus. The only thing they did was advocate that 5 streets stay in tact with the rest of THEIR neighborhood. They didn’t devise an evil plan or bribe anybody or send subliminal messages to the board or whatever other ridiculous conspiracy you need to tell yourself to justify the fact that you yourself were probably not involved in the meetings like you easily could/should have been. Please tell me who the individual was that suggested a new map? I’ve been to every board meeting and it didnt happen! Oak park was being considered from the jump. The board voted unanimously to throw out a map rezoning S.H.to not break up a neighborhood per their secondary criteria. News flash SH original is still mostly older folks with no kids. It wouldnt make a lick of sense to rezone them. Do your research you sound ignorant. Someone was getting rezoned regardless and they literally chose the closest neighborhoods with the most children. If you are unhappy get off the comments and do something about it. Not wait until decisions are made and then blame the folks down the street. Shameful

    • Except brodie springs which has more kids than palomino park. They don’t have to get rezoned. Shady Hollow hosted private meetings with officials in their houses. They campaigned for this. Don’t try to play it off like it is these communities fault when you have been advocating for the “anyone but Shady Hollow” party the entire time. You got your way. Now you can rest easy knowing your little goblins can go to baranoff.

      • Somehow, you will survive

        Your kids will make new friends. You, on the other hand, probably not so much. But you will live.

        • Oh my kids don’t need to make new friends, they are still at Baranoff. Why is the west side of brodie such a mess?

          • Look in the mirror

            Wow some of these comments are just plain comical and ridiculous! Regardless of what map gets decided, everyone is going to be just fine, your kids especially. What School they attend and what Zoning on a map has ZERO to do with a kids character, morals and how they treat other people. That my friends, comes from you. Before you worry about the impact a new elementary school may have on your kids, I would do some serious reflection on yourself. What example are you giving your kids putting others down (even anonymously from your phone or computer) and displaying paranoia that others are out to get you? AISD and the BAC isnt perfect. But guess what, Neither are you, neither am I. In the grand scheme of things, this is a small bump in the road of life. Let’s use this as an opportunity to show your kids how to handle things when they don’t go our way. A little diversity is healthy.

      • That meeting was in Brodie Springs and it was posted in the public FB page that if you were interested in attending to message the home owner and she would message the address. Get your facts straight!!!

        • That meeting wasn’t posted in the group until after it happened. Please stop, you’re embarrassing yourself.

          • Hahaha. Embarrassing myself? Nah, can’t happen…Baranoff for the win! 😂

          • Go look for yourself, I did

            A Brodie Springs resident responded to a comment in the public FB group on 4/12, inviting others to attend the 4/20 meeting with Yasmin. It wasn’t a secret meeting. Unless time is traveling backwards, 4/12 is BEFORE 4/20. Please fact check before making all these false accusations, it isn’t a good look, whomever you are. 🤔

          • There was another meeting before that. Go check again. You must have been kept in the dark about it, just like most of us.

          • I went back and looked again. The public FB group formed on 4/7. There is no mention of a meeting in Shady Hollow anywhere? Could you please be more specific, seems like you would have more information since you are so certain of this..

          • You are confused

            Fact #1: there was ONE meeting with Yasmin. The host was transparent on the FB group opening it up to anyone who wanted to come to her home.

            Fact # 2: there was a neighborhood meeting before the meeting with Yasmin. There was no AISD official present. Neighbors gathered to talk about the boundary issues.

            That’s all.

          • I was at the meeting with Yasmin – a resident of Brodie Springs set it up and it was posted on the FB page prior because that’s how I found out about it. There were also residents from Palamino Park, Oak Parke, and Shady Hollow at the meeting. There have been several public meetings and presentations with representatives of all of these neighborhoods – have you been to any of them? Or are you just trolling on here anonymously to create animosity among the neighborhoods?

  8. Can you do math

    Brodie Springs has more kids than PP. Kocurek could not take all of them. Do some math and read the data. It’s all there.

  9. Don’t mind me. I’m just here to read all the whiny end-of-the-world comments. Y’all keep ’em coming!

  10. This was one entertaining thread

    I have to say, I love the passion of the parents! However, I have to point out your kids are probably more mature than 50% of the parents that posted on this thread (regardless of where they go to school in 2020)…

  11. The rest of the story

    This is a rant. The case is moot. I’ve learned my lesson. Never buy in a small neighborhood unless it is gated. Circle C will have its own complete school district sooner than later. And Bowie will be the next big battle.

    – The numbers aren’t right
    Let’s take a step back and see how we got here. Everything is being decided on school capacity. Baranoff has been taking and encouraging transfers from anywhere for almost 20 years. In OP there are numerous cars that show up from outside our neighborhood to drop their kids off at the bus stops. This has been going on since 2000. The principals have encouraged it. Only in 2016 and this year did transfers become frozen after the horse has left the barn. So the numbers have been inflated by those outside the school boundary. Enough that the smaller child populations from OP and others are booted in favor of transfers. To an eariler point in this forum. If all transfers we eliminated, the numbers would more than likely change.

    – It’s not where you are, it’s who you are with.
    Baranoff has academic rates in the 90% on almost everything. Kocurek is in 70% or below. Read the school report cards and Kocurek is in the teens in some assessments. What makes the difference? Better teachers, different curriculum, more money? No. Parent engagement. Baranoff has parents climbing all over that school. Engaged parents make for engaged students. Schools not treated as glorified daycare by the parents have better numbers.
    And cultures that value education perform differently. Asian and Indian cultures far outpace Anglo’s. For me, this isn’t about class, race or economics. It is about giving your kid the best possible choice of succeeding by placing them with like-minded others. The numbers don’t play out well for those being moved from high-performing to low. A few parents can’t change an entire culture, it has to be a group effort and the desire isn’t there. Reverse the argument and it proves it. People have gamed the system to give their kids a leg up. I don’t fault them for them wanting to. I fault AISD for not only letting it happen but encouraging it.

    Of interest – Go to the 208 TAPR school report – https://www.austinisd.org/cda/state-accountability/district-tapr
    I can’t find Baranoff or Kocurek on the listing on page 4. Interesting ommission…

    This comes down to taking motivated, engaged kids and parents from a place where they can learn and compete with other engaged students. No child left behind screwed everyone. Teach to the lowest level in the class. The parent’s angst is that they are going to have to work twice as hard to keep their kids engaged at a low-performing school. If you are a child in a class where some kids barely or don’t speak English, and don’t care about school, what is the motivation to perform? In fact, studies by Gladwell and others have shown that people who try to excel in groups where excellence isn’t valued are ridiculed and maligned. Nerds are ostracised. Teachers can only do so much. And their job is to teaching, not parenting.

    – Home choice will change- but hey, it’s them not me. (I am one of them)
    And with that, selling ability will change. My weekly check with Zillow shows a modest but steady increase. But once this change is ratified and the data becomes part of the algorithms that provide house value and information to sellers, choices in our neighborhood will become less attractive when presented with another choice with a better elementary. Buyers take the school assignment into account whether they have kids or not. Austin home prices in aggregate will more than likely continue to rise as long as Austin is popular. I’m hoping the continuing trend of gentrification in Austin will accelerate. With that Kocurek will eventually become more like Baranoff and become desirable over time.

    ATX is now CATX
    Everything our West Coast friends left is now here. You will pay more, have your choices mandated by a single-sided city council, and tone deaf AISD, pay for a bloated administration and build water-parks and golf courses for schools in the valley with your money while we have a deficit. So let’s work harder friends to afford places and opportunities that will be taken away from you unanimously while you pay for the privilege. It is the new American way.

    I know, don’t let the door hit you in the ass. Two more years and I’ll hit that door so hard it will come off its hinges. I’ll just have to see if the homeless that will be camping in my yard will convey with the property.

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Nicholas Cicale
Nick was born in Long Island, New York and grew up in South Florida. He graduated from Florida State University in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in writing and a minor in music. Nick was a journalist for three years at the St. James Plaindealer in Minnesota before moving to Austin to join Community Impact Newspaper in 2016.
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