Three options were presented in June to the district by its demographer, Population and Survey Analysts, to relieve WoodCreek, Tays and Seven Lakes junior high schools and accommodate Junior High School No. 16, which opens next school year.
The parent survey results found the preferred boundary change was option 3, which rezones students from Woodcreek and Seven Lakes to No. 16. Meanwhile, Cinco Ranch, Beck and Beckendorff junior high schools would remain as is. Shelby McIntosh, K12 Insight vice president of client success, presented these results to the board and described this option as the minimal approach.
However, option 1 was recommended by the district’s administration, represented by Chief Operating Officer Lee Crews and Population and Survey Analysts. Similar to option 3, option 1 also relocates some students from Seven Lakes and Woodcreek to No. 16, but it also shuffles students among Tays, Wood Creek, Seven Lakes and Beck while keeping Beckendorff as is.
"In the final estimation we are still are recommending option 1," Crews said. "The reason is it does the best job of balancing that southwest quadrant enrollment in the near and long term."
Several board members also expressed their preference for option 1, citing concern for unbalanced schools, increase bus routes and strain on portable building resources if option 3 was pursued.
Board member Bill Lacy postulated if option 3 was pursued the boundaries would have to be adjusted again in the future because some of the schools would become too overcrowded.
“My longtime goal is lock down this as much as possible so that we don’t have to affect students in near or far future,” he said. "We've got to have our children not be overcrowded for a safety standard ... so that we can effectively have them learn the things they can be adequately prepared for high school."
Board members Rebecca Fox and Dawn Champagne said they also preferred option 1. Board member George Scott said he would not base his decision on the survey because he believed it was fundamentally flawed and will do what he thinks is best for the district.
The board had requested a survey be undertaken to receive input from the families whose children would be impacted by the boundary changes. The survey was open online from June 20 through Oct. 17, McIntosh said.
About 5,400 participants took the survey, McIntosh said. That resulted in a 52 percent response rate, which is historically high, she added.
According to the results of the survey, of participants who had a student currently enrolled in a school that would be affected by the boundary changes, 34 percent fully supported option 1, and 34 percent did not support it; 35 percent fully supported option 2, and 36 percent did not support it; and 52 percent fully supported option 3, and 18 percent did not support it.
McIntosh noted that for that particular question participants did not have to select one proposal over the other two; they could choose fully support, somewhat support, not support or unsure for all three options if they so chose.
"I know that the people are not happy, some of them, about the attendance boundary [changes,]" Champagne said. "But I also want to say when your kids get rezoned to a new school, they're going to be OK. ... It seems terrible, but it ends up being OK.
The board will vote on the new junior high school boundaries at the next board meeting Dec. 17.