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New zoning draws ire of some parents

After various public forums and several alterations, the Hays CISD board of trustees Monday made their decision on rezoning boundary changes for elementary and middle schools.

By a 6-1 vote, the board approved boundary changes that mirrored the final recommendation from Hays CISD’s rezoning committee. Board member Teresa Tobias cast the dissenting vote.

The boundary changes were made to accommodate for the district’s new Middle School No. 6, which on Monday was officially named Dr. T.C. McCormick Middle School.

The district’s rezoning plan, which will go into effect during the 2017-2018 school year, will change boundaries for some elementary and middle schools. In addition, the school board will allow middle school students affected by the rezoning to apply for a transfer to stay at their current school, including students in 6th grade.

Hays CISD public information officer Tim Savoy said applications would be available the first business day in January.

Board president Meredith Keller, however, was concerned about issues in the transfer process from previous years. She said she hopes for a process that is “easy to navigate.”

“The last thing we want to do is to have problems in the transfer,” she said.

The process of forming the rezoning map fell on Hays CISD’s rezoning committee, which vetted and crafted several plans for rezoning.

Fiona O’Neal, who was part of the committee, said they tried to listen to all concerns and comments from citizens and parents. They also changed the maps and “tried every situation presented to us.”

“We took every single person’s concerns as a valid concern,” O’Neal said. “Even though it was emotional, we wanted it to be transparent in our decisions … none of us took this lightly, but it wasn’t easy.”

The committee’s ultimate final plan drew the ire of several parents from Buda Elementary. Those parents were upset that the plan will move Buda students from Dahlstrom to Barton Middle School.

The plan, however, was meant to address overcrowding that’s taking place in several Hays CISD middle schools.

Board member Bert Bronaugh said the committee did the “best you can do.”

“Anyone I spoke to, anyone that attended the workshop, flat out said I don’t like (the plan), but I understand where (the committee) is coming from,” Bronaugh said.

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