School Boundary Advisory Committee
The School Boundary Advisory Committee met on the evening of Thursday, 2/27, to continue working through the SBAC zoning process. During the previous SBAC meeting, thecommittee extensively reviewed all of the feedback received from the publicforum, petitions as well as e-mailed concerns.
On Thursday, 2/27, the committee divided into three small groups for analysis and discussion of all viable options. The groups discussed additional proposals that were made by community members as well as a plan that was brought forward by the SBAC representatives from the Marek attendance zone.
After carefully reviewing all options, the three separate groups individually came to the point of supporting the initial recommendations, which were shared at the initial public forum. The committee collectively affirmed that they would like to stay with the current recommendation. However, one parent did express that she wasnot supportive of the solution.
The Committee also expressed that they would like to extend the grandfathering of 5th and 8th graders to include their siblings for one year.
The Committee plans to host an additional public forum. The date of the additional forum is currently pending; however, it will likely be in the later part of March.
1. Alvin ISD has expressed that they strive to use “natural boundaries” when creating school attendance boundaries. What is a “natural boundary”?
Answer: The District strives to utilize existing objects, naturally occurring or man-made, which create separation between immediate sections of a neighborhood. As an example, large roadways or thoroughfares, such as FM518 and McHard Road, create an ideal boundary, as do waterways and detention. Utility easements or green spaces serve as good natural boundaries because they create distance between sections of homes. Other items such as parks or non-residential properties create an opportunity to draw attendance boundaries that do not separate families living in close proximity to one another.
2. What is the purpose of having parent representatives on the School Boundary Advisory Committee if they do not meet individually with impacted neighborhoods?
Answer: Alvin ISD has utilized the process of having parents on the SBAC. These committee members are charged with looking out for the best interests of the entire district. The individual representatives are not asked to represent individual streets, sections or neighborhoods. The SBAC Public Forum is held to allow people in impacted areas to express their personal concerns or the concerns of their neighbors. Committee members are asked to provide feedback, ideas and additional considerations for the purpose of ensuring final recommendations that best serve all families in Alvin ISD.
3. Does the cost associated with transportation drive the decision to leave apartments in current attendance zone boundaries?
Answer: Not at all. As the SBAC discussed feedback provided during the public forum, it became apparent that the zoning of apartment complexes resulted in a considerable number of questions. The District must be good stewards of every tax dollar and identify the cost implications of future decisions. The apartments currently zoned to Marek Elementary are within 2 miles of the campus. Zoning them to a different campus would place them outside of the 2-mile radius thus requiring bus transportation, which results in an annual district expenditure exceeding $200,000. Transportation costs are not an SBAC guiding principal; however, it does warrant discussion.
4. Why does the current zoning recommendation plan to move the Southern Trials neighborhood to Red Duke Elementary (#15) at the corner of Kirby and County Rd. 59?
Answer: When acquiring land for an additional elementary in the Southern Trails area, the District worked with the developers of local communities to ensure future sites would meet the needs of our families. The Southern Trails master plan includes roadways and community access points onto Kirby (East) and 59 (South). Both of the access points will be in close proximity to Red Duke Elementary. The District continually communicates with developers; however, we are not able to dictate their construction timelines. The considerable growth of Southern Trails, and surrounding developments, necessitated a new elementary school in the general vicinity. The “odd” shape of the current Wilder attendance boundary was created during the previous SBAC process. Those decisions allowed Southern Trails to remain in Wilder for the previous two years. This was done to ensure these families would not experience multiple moves in a short time frame.
5. Does the current SBAC recommendation increase elementary travel distances for the families in Reflection Pointe, Morningside, Heron Bay and The Gables?
Answer: By in large, Reflection Pointe, Morningside, and Heron Bay experience the same trip distances to Wilder Elementary as they currently travel to Marek Elementary. The distance from the front gate of The Gables to Wilder is slightly increased over the current distance to Marek; however, both distances are well below the District’s 2-mile threshold for providing transportation.
6. Would it be possible to allow siblings of grandfathered 5th and 8th grade students to remain at their current campus?
Answer: Alvin ISD and the SBAC committee are working to explore this option. Initial calculations indicate that expanding the grandfathering provision, to allow siblings of 5th and 8th graders to remain at their current campus, could necessitate the continued use of portable buildings at Marek and Wilder Elementaries to accommodate the increased transfer enrollment for school year 2014/2015. Alvin Independent School District strives to ensure that portable buildings remain a temporary solution; however, this option is being considered.
The SBAC Committee reconvened on the evening of February 13, 2014 at Wilder Elementary. The Committee spent the majority of the evening discussing community concerns raised during the SBAC Public Forum on February 10
The SBAC identified the following topics as the most prevalent community concerns:
- The Shadow Creek Communities of Reflection Pointe, Morningside, Heron Bay and The Gables expressed a desire to remain in the Marek attendance zone. A number of reasons were shared including travel distances, parental investments in the Marek school community, the campus capacity currently filled by students who reside in apartment complexes and future zoning implications.
- Southern Trails parents expressed concern about transportation routes to Dr. “Red” Duke Elementary (#15), which would cause them to travel south when the current access points of their neighborhood are situated to the north and west.
- Southern Trails parents expressed the concern that they are part of the Shadow Creek &/or Pearland community and they expressed a desire to continue attending schools within the Shadow Creek development.
- Alvin ISD’s philosophy on serving families who reside in apartment complexes.
- Parents expressed concern about the perceived variance in extra-curricular offerings between schools.
- Parents expressed a request to allow the siblings of “grandfathered” 5th and 8th grade students to remain at their current campus.
During the SBAC meeting, the Committee was provided enrollment numbers based on individual “planning areas” (clusters of homes and residences from locally bounded areas). Committee members were also provided copies of petitions that have been presented to the District from impacted communities.
The group identified that there is a need for an additional SBAC meeting, which is tentatively scheduled for February 27.
This following agenda items will be discussed at the February 27th SBAC meeting:
· Current enrollment numbers by “planning area”
· Evaluation of the current SBAC recommendation in light of the identified areas of community concern
· Consider the impact of any modifications made to the current SBAC zoning recommendation
· Discuss the need for a future public forum
o February 27 (Tentative Date): Additional SBAC Meeting
o April 8 – Alvin ISD Board Meeting: Final SBAC recommendations will be provided to the Board of Trustees [Moved from the March 4th Board Meeting to allow time for additional SBAC consideration.]
Additional updates regarding the SBAC process, recommendations and future meetings will be provided as they become available.
Alvin ISD zoning committee to host public forum
Alvin ISD has experienced tremendous student growth over the past few years. With more students comes the need for additional facilities, which forces the District to update campus attendance boundary lines as we build new facilities. With the fall 2014 opening of Elementary 15, located at the intersection of County Road 59 and Kirby, the Alvin ISD School Boundary Advisory Committee was formed to study attendance boundaries for the 2014-15 school year,
The committee consists of two parents from every impacted campus, the campus principals as well as district members serving as advisory. The committee began their preliminary work on January 16, 2014 at Wilder Elementary, and reviewed various zoning options with the assistance of the District’s demographer, Templeton Demographics.
After reviewing multiple options and scenarios, the committee identified a scenario for elementary zones and a small modification to the attendance boundaries of Manvel Junior High at Rodeo Palms and Nolan Ryan Junior High School.
“It is our goal to keep neighborhoods or sections of neighborhoods zoned to the same campus. We will make every effort to use natural dividing lines, such as utility easements, green space and roadways when setting the new attendance boundaries,” said Pat Miller, Alvin ISD Chief Operating Officer.
The suggested modifications will have an attendance boundary impact on Jeter Elementary, Wilder Elementary, York Elementary and Marek Elementary, E.C. Mason Elementary as well as a slight modification to Manvel Jr. High at Rodeo Palms and Nolan Ryan Jr. High.
“In Alvin ISD we encourage community input and involvement. The parents involvement on the zoning committee offers an opportunity for community members to get involved by reviewing the proposed attendance boundaries, and share their thoughts at the scheduled public forum,” added Miller.
The public forum is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 10, 2014 at Manvel Junior High at Rodeo Palms, located at 101 Palm Desert Drive, in Manvel. All community members are invited and encouraged to attend. Following the public hearing the committee will solidify the recommendations and make a formal presentation to the Board of Trustees at the regular monthly Board meeting, set for March 4 at 7 p.m.
For additional questions or concerns contact Alvin ISD Central Administration at 281-245-2459.