The Spring ISD board of trustees approved new attendance zone boundaries at its March 21 board meeting to provide relief for overcrowded schools and to plan for the new school buildings that will open in 2020.
SISD Superintendent Rodney Watson said the shifts are designed to distribute enrollment more evenly and to create clearer feeder patterns—which determine the sequence of schools a student will attend—to the district’s high schools.
“It is almost impossible to have clean feeder patterns in this district,” SISD Chief Communication Officer Tiffany Dunne-Oldfield said, referring to the district’s size and uneven shape.
Under the current feeder patterns, all but one of the district’s middle schools sends eighth-graders to two or more different high schools.
A middle school building and three ninth-grade campuses are among the new facilities approved by SISD voters in November 2016 as part of a $330 million bond referendum.
When the new middle school opens in 2020 and the new feeder patterns take effect, only two SISD middle schools will send students to multiple high schools, Dunne-Oldfield said.
Attendance boundary changes will begin to take effect in the 2017-18 school year, starting with shifts at the elementary and middle school levels.
Changes to attendance boundaries are needed immediately to respond to uneven enrollment distribution in the district, Dunne-Oldfield said.
Four elementary schools, three middle schools and all three high schools currently operate near or above capacity, while other schools in less populated areas of the district— such as Heritage Elementary School—operate at below 85 percent capacity, according to the district’s statistics.
The boundary changes that will take effect this fall will shift some students from overcrowded schools—such as Clark Elementary School, which is operating at 130 percent capacity—to nearby schools that have room for growth.
Changes to the district’s middle school boundaries will be phased in over the course of several years. The first set of changes will take place in 2017-18 and will provide relief to overcrowded middle schools until the new building opens in 2020.
Initial boundary changes will include movement between Wells, Bammel and Dueitt middle schools. For example, only neighborhoods south of FM 1960 will send students to Bammel Middle School beginning this fall. Final boundaries will be set when the new middle school opens.
Under the new boundaries, a portion of the area now zoned to Spring High School, including neighborhoods east of Aldine-Westfield Road and south of Marshall Elementary School, will attend Dekaney High School. In addition, an eastern portion of an area now zoned for Westfield High School north of FM 1960 will attend Spring High School. A part of the area now zoned for Dekaney High School will attend Westfield High School.
The district held several community meetings in February and March to gather feedback on the changes.
Dunne-Oldfield said comments included concerns about lower academic performance and lower quality extracurricular activities at Dekaney.
“We understand that the high school boundaries are transformational,” Dunne-Oldfield said.
In response to these and other comments, the district said students enrolled in grades 11 and 12 when the changes take effect will be able to remain at their current schools if the schools can accommodate them.
Detailed information about the boundary changes is available at the district website, www.springisd.org.