Coppell ISD officials will conduct a districtwide facilities evaluation that could set the stage for possible building consolidation and school closures in the coming years.

The goal is to determine facility, building and land use, and efficiency amid declining enrollment and budget concerns, Chief Communications Officer Angela Brown said when presenting the tool to the Coppell ISD board May 20.

The backstory

The tool was created by an implementation team consisting of parents and staff members and industry experts, Brown said. The group began working on the tool last fall.

“The tool is divided into two sections,” Brown said. “The first is the facilities evaluation tool, which will look at operational factors and learning environment programmatic factors. The second section is the impact decision filter.”

The details

Officials will assign values to buildings and properties through a rating metric tailored to each operational and learning environment factors, which will include:
  • Building age and condition
  • Capacity
  • Utility cost
  • Transportation
  • Projected enrollment
  • Attendance zones
  • Walkability
  • Proximity to other buildings
The way the process will work is an evaluation team will use the tool to gather data on CISD facilities and properties, and then draft apropos recommendations. The team will then run the recommendation through the decision filter, adjusting as needed before presenting to the board of trustees, Brown said.

The decision filter is another set of considerations that are important to address, Brown said. These considerations analyze the impact of the recommendations on students, staff and the district’s culture to include:
  • Impact on students quality of education
  • Impact on staff workload and travel time
  • Core value alignment
  • Impact on special programs
  • Potential property value
  • Alignment with long-term strategic goals
  • Solution feasibility
  • Family retention and recruitment
  • Implications to operation costs and transportation
“The decision matrix is about taking each recommendation and having thoughtful conversation through the lens of each consideration,” Brown said.

Zooming in

One factor that is particularly important for the district is the family retention, Brown said. District officials want to ensure any decisions don’t drive families to other districts or create a school void that could further drive enrollment loss due to proximity.

“If we remove a school from one location are we naturally pushing families to a charter or private school because of location,” she said.

Going forward

District officials will bring forward the final recommendation for board approval June 10, Brown said.

After the approval the administration will coordinate an evaluation team to gather the data and begin the process, and is expected to present its findings and recommended action plan Sept. 9, she said.

The board will then review the plan and take action Sept. 30, but trustee Manish Sethi expressed concern about such short discussion time between reviewing the findings and approving the plan.

"If we are seeing Sept. 9 and Sept. 30, we are supposed to make a decision, I would not feel comfortable making such a big decision," Sethi said.

Superintendent Brad Hunt said the administration would discuss the board's feedback and consider adjusting the timeline but encouraged community members to continue providing input.

"I know people don't know what the recommendations are going to be, but we have been talking about consolidating schools and declining elementary enrollment, and its hard to provide input when you don't really know what it is, but you could also start sharing some of that feedback now," Hunt said.