Klein ISD set to change elementary, high school boundaries

Klein ISD set to change elementary, high school boundariesThe Klein ISD board of trustees is scheduled to vote on a rezoning plan Feb. 8 to funnel enrollment from overcrowded schools to two new campuses.

The new additions are Mahaffey Elementary School, the district’s 31st elementary school, and a high school, the district’s fifth, which will be named at the Feb. 8 board meeting, said Judy Rimato, associate superintendent for communications for KISD.

KISD determined the need for the schools years ago. Mahaffey Elementary will open in August, and the new high school, which is located next to Ulrich Intermediate School, is set to open in 2017.

“We’ve done a lot of research on the optimal school size,” Rimato said.

Elementary schools should accommodate less than 1,000 students, intermediate schools should hold about 1,250, and high schools should be kept to 3,500 or less, she said.

Metzler Elementary School has a capacity of 905 students, and in 2016 enrollment is 908 students. Kuehnle Elementary School has a capacity of 824 students, and in 2016 enrollment is 850 students.

The district attempts to keep attendance balanced to ensure no school operates at significantly over capacity while another is operating significantly below capacity, said Steve Smith, president of the board of trustees.

    “This applies to not only today’s student population but projections for future student counts as well,” he said. “Without rezoning, the district would incur additional expenses for rental or purchase of portable buildings and construction costs.”

Mahaffey Elementary will open in the fall with a capacity of 940 students. High School No. 5, has a capacity of 3,500 students. It is projected to open with 1,682 students in 2017.

The preferred draft for the new boundaries could affect elementary school students attending Metzler, Schultz, Mueller, Bernshausen and Kuehnle elementary schools. Ninth- and 10th-grade students attending Klein Oak and Klein high schools could be moved to High School No. 5 under the preferred draft plan, while older students will be permitted to attend their current school.

Some of the neighborhoods affected by the high school rezoning include  Laurel Park, East Lake at Gleannloch Farms, Memorial Creek Estates, Willow Falls and Champion Woods.

Elementary school rezoning could affect students who live in Inverness Estates, Pinewood Place and Oakwood Village. For a complete list of neighborhoods affected, visit kleinisd.net.

“KISD is sensitive to parent preferences and tries to accommodate as many as possible,” Smith said. “However, it is not always possible to satisfy them all. It becomes somewhat of a balancing act. In the end, we have found that students handle change well and, with parental support, successfully adapt to new environments.”

Rezoning is inevitable with the opening of new schools, Rimato said. “If we don’t rezone, each student will continue to go to the school they’re going to now,” she said. “We have to redraw the boundaries.”

When school enrollments surpass their capacity level, it begins to affect common areas, such as libraries and cafeterias, Rimato said. The district is able to move in temporary buildings for additional classes, but the district has no remedy for common areas.

“I’ve personally lived through rezoning twice as a student in KISD many years ago by being rezoned from Haude Elementary [School] to the brand new Theiss Elementary [School] in 1974. Then [I was] rezoned in intermediate school from Strack to Kleb a few years later,” said Ronnie Anderson, vice president of the board of trustees. “This allowed me to make so many more friends and still enjoy friendships across the district.”

Mahaffey Elementary was funded using 2008 bonds, Rimato said. High School No. 5 is funded with 2008 and 2015 bonds.

If approved by the board, the new elementary school boundaries will begin in fall 2016, and the new high school boundaries will take effect in fall 2017, to coincide with the opening of the two campuses.

The district strives to prevent overcrowding for continued academic success, Anderson said.

“This growth requires more schools and more teachers all the while maintaining the integrity of the teacher to student ratio to achieve academic success,” he said.