The district proposed two scenarios—Option A and Option B—for the attendance boundary of the unnamed Elementary School No. 29, which is located in the Atascocita area in the Lakewood Pines neighborhood. The school's construction is being funded by the $245 million bond referendum approved by HISD voters in 2008.
HISD Public Communications Director Jamie Mount said the district hosted several community meetings and requested online feedback on Options A and B. HISD also answered questions and concerns from the community.
“The community sentiment was strongly in favor of Option A compared to Option B,” she said. “73% of the comments were Option A, and 27% of the comments were Option B, for preference.”
Elementary School No. 29 will open in August 2020. It is being built to alleviate overcrowding prevent congestion at nearby campuses, Deputy HISD Superintendent Roger Brown said. Lakeshore Elementary, for example, has almost 1,100 students, and the district has estimated it would have 1,700 students by 2025 if attendance boundaries were not adjusted, he said.
Approving Option A
The approved scenario, Option A, will zone students currently attending Lakeshore Elementary who reside in select neighborhoods—Lake Forest Village, Lake Park Village, Lakeside Terrace, Lakewood Pines, South Pointe Village, Stillwater on the Lake Houston, Suncrest Village and Summer Lake Ranch—to the new elementary school campus. This move will transfer roughly 500 students from Lakeshore Elementary to Elementary School No. 29, Brown said.
The attendance boundary will also phase out Lakeshore Elementary's flex zone to Groves Elementary, and will create a new flex zone encompassing parts of the master-planned community of Balmoral. Additionally, students within Balmoral Sections 1, 2 and 3 will have the option to attend the respective schools for which they are currently zoned or attend Elementary School No. 29 come the 2020-21 school year.
Students in Balmoral Section 1 can choose between Ridge Creek Elementary or the new school, while students in Balmoral Sections 2 and 3 can choose to attend Groves Elementary or the new school, according to the district. Brown said the flex zone aims to increase Elementary School No. 29's capacity and provide time for a mobility project to be completed before permanent zoning is put in place.
A proposed project to extend Timber Forest Drive south of Madera Run Parkway, create a bridge over the Union Pacific Corp. railroad and connect Balmoral to the Lakewood Pines neighborhood would improve access to the new elementary school, Brown said. Until that project is completed, however, Brown said families in the Balmoral flex zone who choose to attend the new school will have to drive further to access the campus.
Nolan Correa, HISD's associate superintendent of operational support services, said the district is working with Harris County commissioners to get the project on the ground.
Trustee Lori Twomey said she has a problem with the uncertainty residents living in the flex zone may face, and she wants to ensure the district keeps residents updated with the progress of the mobility project.
“I think that if we are communicating to people that the intention is that once the bridge is built that there will be a permanent decision made regarding zoning to those areas, then I feel much more comfortable with that, as opposed to sort of flex zones that sort of go on indefinitely,” Twomey said.
View the map below to see which residencies are set to attend Elementary School No. 29 in August 2020.