Proposed attendance zone for North Central ES would move students from Cook, Wooldridge

At its board meeting Dec. 16, the Austin ISD board is scheduled to consider a proposed attendance zone map for the new North Central Elementary School No. 2, which includes changes to the attendance zones of Cook and Wooldridge elementary schools.

The district broke ground on the site of the new school in October, and at its Dec. 2 meeting, the Austin ISD board of trustees reviewed the planned attendance zone and discussed the process for developing it.

Executive Director of Facilities Paul Turner explained the new school, which is scheduled to open for the 2014–15 school year, is expected to provide relief for neighboring schools, with 345 Cook students, 300 Wooldridge students and 103 Read Pre-K students moving to the new campus.

"Cook right now is at nearly twice its permanent capacity," Turner said.

Board documents show Cook is operating at 181 percent capacity in terms of enrollment, while Wooldridge is at 140 percent. The proposed boundaries would lower Cook's capacity to 118 percent and Wooldridge to 96 percent, according to board documents.

Trustee Robert Schneider noted that on the new proposed boundaries map, it appears some students in the North Central attendance zone are actually closer to Wooldridge.

"My basic philosophy is the closer you are to the school, then that's the school you ought to go to," Schneider said.

Turner said the area in question affected only about six students. He noted that while making the maps, the boundary advisory committee incorporated secondary data such as walking distances.

"I think that the boundary committee has done the best that it can considering the density of the area," trustee Ann Teich said.

The boundary advisory committee hosted a public hearing Nov. 12 to present the proposed attendance area. Five community members attended, according to board documents.

"There were some tradeoffs in this, there's no doubt about it," he said. " We believe we came out of this with a map that we got support of. We did not hear any kind of negative feedback from anyone in the CAC process or at the public hearings, so we think this one will work."