Magnolia ISD started the rezoning process of elementary school boundaries in September in anticipation of the opening of Audubon Elementary in August, the first new elementary campus to open in the district since 2005 at which time elementary boundaries last changed.

Audubon is a part of the $232 million bond voters approved in 2022, which also includes funds to build new intermediate and junior high schools.

District officials said the three new schools will help MISD address the continued growth of the district. As of the fall 2022-23 semester, a total of 5,353 students were enrolled across MISD’s eight elementary campuses.

A 10-year forecast by Templeton Demographics in 2023 predicts enrollment at the elementary level will grow to over 8,000 students by 2032, an increase of 51.54%.

Denise Meyers, executive director of communications, said the proposed elementary school boundaries will be brought to the board for consideration Dec. 11. New boundaries are expected to go into effect in August.

“While creating these zones, we tried to look further than just next year,” said Deanie Murry, MISD’s long-range planning coordinator. “We want to give relief to other campuses for several years to come until we need another bond in the future.”

Meyers said the proposed attendance zones will affect approximately 980 students across the existing boundaries for Williams, Magnolia, Magnolia Parkway and Smith elementary campuses, with the majority of students coming from neighborhoods in Audubon and the central corridor of the district.

“The opening of Audubon Elementary will help alleviate the overcrowding that is happening in the central part of the district while also balancing enrollment across the district. The proposed map is based on guiding principles and the idea of not having elementary students move multiple times during their primary years,” Superintendent Todd Stephens said.

A closer look

According to a district housing overview by MISD, there are 22,878 future lots identified in neighborhoods currently zoned to Magnolia Elementary, followed by Magnolia Parkway with 7,950 lots and Williams with 3,519 future lots.

Enrollment capacity at every elementary school is 900 students, according to data from the district.

As of Sept. 8, Williams Elementary had 856 students enrolled, Magnolia Elementary had 689 students, and Magnolia Parkway had 846 students. By the 2025-26 school year, Magnolia Parkway and Williams are projected to reach over 1,000 students, according to the demographic study.

Cedric Smith Elementary is expected to be within 10% of capacity by 2025-26 followed by Magnolia Elementary reaching capacity in 2027-28.

In a perfect world, Meyers said dividing the 5,600 elementary students by nine elementary schools would place 622 kids per campus. However, enrollment projections do not include special programs, such as special education and bilingual programs, which are concentrated at certain campuses.

Zooming out, the district is expected to reach a total enrollment of more than 17,200 students by the 2026-27 school year and more than 22,000 students by 2031-32, according to the demographic study.
Offering input

MISD has gathered parent feedback via listening tours and surveys. The first survey asked what factors parents believe the district should prioritize when adjusting the boundaries.

According to results from ThoughtExchange, a management solution company used by the district to conduct anonymous surveys, parents’ top concerns included keeping class sizes and the student-to-teacher ratios small. The survey garnered:
  • Almost 1,500 participants
  • 829 shared thoughts
  • 20,000 interactions, including comments and reactions
“Class sizes should be small. Teachers should have the time needed to teach students in a more focused manner, which is only possible through smaller teacher-to-student ratios,” the top-rated comment read.

Meyers said the sentiment is shared across the district.

“The culture out here is that parents want to keep that small-town feel, and what that means is keeping our schools at a manageable size,” she said.
What's next

MISD officials presented the proposed boundaries to the board Nov. 13. With no changes requested from the board, the boundaries will be brought for approval Dec. 11.

“I like that it’s methodical and timely, and paced,” board President Gary Blizzard said Nov. 13. “It’s going to hopefully result in something that everyone is happy with.”

Although new boundaries go into effect in August, students who will be in fourth grade during the 2024-25 school year may opt to remain at their current campus through MISD’s transfer process.

Meyers said a similar boundary process will start for the new intermediate and junior high school in September, which are expected to open in 2025.