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Attendance zone plan makes sense

We realize that changes in school attendance zones can sometimes be difficult on parents, but we believe a Denton school district plan that would move approximately 150 Paloma Creek Elementary School students to Providence Elementary School for the 2013-14 school year makes good sense.

Public hearings to discuss the plan are set for 7 p.m. today at Providence Elementary, 1000 FM2931 in Providence Village, and 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Paloma Creek Elementary, 1600 Navo Road in the Paloma Creek area.

Rod Reeves, the district facilities and planning coordinator, said the proposal is an attempt to balance student populations.

“We also want to prepare for future growth,” Reeves said. “We want to do this in such a way that we’re not here in a year rezoning again.”

The district has set functional capacities at its elementary schools for 740 students, and enrollment at Paloma Creek currently stands at 743, according to district documents. We think the school district is taking the right approach by planning now to stay ahead of the growth curve, and we agree with Reeves that planners should take care to make sure the district doesn’t have to go back to the drawing board any sooner than necessary.

District officials are proposing that a majority of students living south of U.S. Highway 380, east of Navo Road and Villa Paloma Boulevard to the district’s southern boundary at Lewisville Lake and west of the district’s east boundary near FM423, be rezoned to Providence Elementary.

Providence has room to grow with a current enrollment of 502 students, according to district officials.

The proposal would affect the southeast portions of the current attendance zones for Paloma Creek and Savannah Elementary School. District officials said no current students live within the portion of the Savannah boundary that is proposed to move to Providence.

Students entering the fifth grade next year at Paloma Creek and their siblings enrolled at the school will have the option to remain there, provided they furnish their own transportation, Reeves said.

Conducting public hearings a year before a proposed change in attendance boundaries allows parents to “plan accordingly,” said Sharon Cox, district spokeswoman.

Such consideration is appreciated, and the early notification should give all affected residents ample opportunity to make necessary adjustments in their scheduling to prepare for any changes.

Based on a second-quarter new home closing report presented recently to Denton school and city officials, the Denton school district is fifth among the fastest-growing districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

According to Bob Templeton, president of Southlake-based Templeton Demographics, the district’s fastest-growing areas are the southern sector and east along the U.S. 380 Corridor.

We encourage all parents in the area to attend the meeting today or the one Thursday. No decisions on the boundary modifications will be made, Reeves said. The hearings are merely an opportunity for officials to share the proposal with the public and gather input.

Information collected at the meetings, along with the rezoning proposal, will be presented to the school board Oct. 23. Reeves said no action will be taken at that time, but the school board could consider the proposal as soon as Nov. 13.