The Denton school board this week unanimously approved 2013-14 middle school attendance zones with an option for incoming seventh- and eighth-grade students and their siblings to remain at their current middle schools.
Boundaries are being redrawn to make room for the district’s seventh middle school, slated to open for the 2013-14 school year in Shady Shores, to balance middle school populations and align those attendance zones with high school attendance boundaries where possible, school officials have said.
The new zones impact all middle schools except for Navo Middle School.
Families with children entering the seventh and eighth grades in 2013 must submit a transfer request to remain at their current middle school and will be responsible for their child’s transportation to and from school.
“We’re trying to make the transition a little bit easier,” said Rod Reeves, the district’s facilities and planning coordinator.
School board members unanimously approved the new boundaries at a Tuesday board meeting.
Board President Mia Price said she was pleased with district staff’s ability “to work with parents to reach a compromise that’s mutually beneficial for both our district and our families.”
Some parents present at Tuesday’s meeting were unhappy with the board’s decision.
Kari Knight, a parent who has spoken before the board on behalf of several parents on two occasions — urging members to support an option that would allow students living in her Chaucer Estates neighborhood and an adjacent development, Oaks of Montecito, to remain in the Harpool Middle School attendance zone — said the vote frustrated her.
Citing district projections, Knight argues that the district is sending their children to Crownover Middle School, a campus that’s projected to have 1,007 students for the 2015-16 year, while Harpool is projected to have 963 students. Functional capacity for Denton middle schools is 1,000 students, district officials have said.
She’s previously asked the board to keep the Chaucer Estates and Oaks of Montecito children with students zoned for Harpool, whom they frequently socialize with in nearby parks. Rezoning the children in those two neighborhoods to Crownover could result in children attending classes with students they have no close connection with outside of school, she said.
Prior to the board’s vote Tuesday, Knight urged members to consider allowing students from the two developments to remain in the Harpool zone until the 2015-16 year and then rezone incoming sixth- and seventh-graders to the proposed Crownover zone, with an option for eighth-graders to remain at Harpool.
The approved option, which allows incoming seventh- and eighth-graders and their siblings to remain at their current middle school provided families provide transportation, is a hardship for several parents who rely on district buses to transport their children to school, she said.
“The school board was presented with a new option that had the ability to work and still accomplish both the goals of the parents and the school board to keep Harpool from reaching functional capacity,” Knight said. “But rather than postpone a vote and take the time to look at the proposal that was mentioned, I feel that the school board chose to take the easy way out and vote on the option that was brought up and presented all along instead of looking at the option that would have been in the best interest of our students and, to some degree, our parents.”
In response to the projected enrollment numbers for the 2015-16 year, Reeves, the facilities coordinator, said the projections do not factor in the incoming seventh- and eighth-graders who may choose to stay at their current middle schools. He said the district anticipates that seventh- and eighth-graders proposed to attend Crownover for the 2013-14 year who are currently zoned for Harpool will submit transfer requests to remain at their current middle school, thus leaving Crownover under its functional capacity limit.
District officials first brought proposals for the new attendance boundaries to the public at two meetings in May. District officials asked the public for their comments and concerns on the proposals. Also in May, proposals, including one option that included parent input, were presented to the school board.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876. Her e-mail address is email@example.com .