When people think about which school district city of McKinney children attend, the first district that comes to mind is likely McKinney ISD.
However, because of district boundary lines that were in some cases drawn more than 100 years ago, children living in McKinney and within its extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ, attend one of seven school districts—McKinney, Allen, Frisco, Prosper, Celina, Melissa or Lovejoy ISDs.
Northwest portions of McKinney are zoned for Prosper, Celina and McKinney ISDs, and the southwest portions are zoned for Frisco, Allen and McKinney ISDs.
Conversely, about 12,000 students who live in McKinney and its ETJ attended a district other than McKinney ISD for the 2016-17 school year, according to district officials. McKinney ISD has a student population of 24,929, of which about 3 percent, or about 779 students, live in another city, said Geoff Sanderson, chief program evaluation officer at McKinney ISD.
Students who make up the 3 percent come from Aubrey, Anna, Blue Ridge, Carrollton and Celina, among other cities, Sanderson said. He said this number can be affected by the district’s employee transfer policy, which allows staff members who live in other cities to transfer their children to McKinney ISD.
Jeremy Tillet, broker for Tillett Realty & Associates, said he helps clients buy and sell homes in all of the school districts around McKinney.
“From my experience, the physical location affects the property values [of homes] more than the actual school districts,” he said. “All of these towns that McKinney residents feed into have great schools and most of my clients know and appreciate the fact that all of these school districts are exceptional.”
History of area school districts
The Common School Law of 1854 divided Texas counties into school districts.
The “Texas Public Schools Sesquicentennial Handbook” says every county was “divided into a suitable number of school districts, each of which would elect trustees to set up and supervise the system.”
Chapter 13 of the Texas Education Code discusses the consolidation of boundaries but does not discuss how boundaries were first determined.
“When they used to draw the school district lines, these communities obviously were very rural, and so you would have a one-room schoolhouse that would pull kids from all over the region,” said Cody Cunningham, McKinney ISD chief communications and support services officer.
McKinney ISD boundary lines
The McKinney ISD 106-square-mile district area detours from the 116 square miles that encompass the city of McKinney and its ETJ.
District boundary lines change only in rare circumstances and only change if affected districts agree to make an adjustment, Cunningham said. It is typically not in the best interest of a school district to adjust those boundaries, he said.
“In almost every case it’s highly unlikely that a district is going to give up any of its tax base,” he said. “I think if you asked 10 superintendents, ‘Would you be willing to give up part of your district and redraw the lines for convenience or proximity?’ Ten of them would say ‘no,’” Cunningham said.