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Hays CISD readies to rezone for 14th elementary school

The process in rezoning Hays CISD’s attendance boundaries to accommodate the district’s newest elementary school is underway.

However, even as the district potentially eyes easing overcrowding issues at Hemphill Elementary, at least six other elementary schools could be overcapacity in the next five years, according to district population forecasts.

Tim Savoy, Hays CISD public information officer, said the projections are guidelines for its process in rezoning, which is currently being taken up by the district’s 21-member rezoning committee.

Savoy said the committee, comprised of community members appointed by school board trustees, is only looking at rezoning elementary school attendance boundaries. This is being done in preparation for Elementary School 14, which is projected to open August 2018.

Want to weigh in on the rezoning maps?

Hays CISD is holding two public forums on the matter. Residents can also weigh in on the Zone Talk button on the district’s webpage at hayscisd.net/rezone.

Public Forum #1: Tuesday, Oct. 24 – 6 p.m. – Tobias Elementary
Public Forum #2: Tuesday, Nov. 7  – 6 p.m. – Hemphill Elementary

The district is not taking a look at rezoning for its third high school, located on FM 967 near Carpenter Hill Elementary, until the 2018 school year. Savoy said the district will wait – as a “year can make a difference” in projection numbers.

“It gives us a more accurate picture of where you’re working with in terms of the map,” Savoy said.

Hays CISD’s elementary rezoning committee will take a look at three draft rezoning maps the district created for the process. Under its current policy, the district must provide at least two options for a committee to start with.

The committee will take a look and make adjustments to the draft maps; at that point the maps are then taken to the public as part of an open forum. The first open forum is Oct. 24. Savoy said the goal is to present the committee’s final recommendations to the board of trustees in December. The board ultimately decides on the new maps.

Several caveats under consideration include working toward common feeder patterns across the district, assigning entire neighborhoods to the same schools, considering student proximity to campuses and establishing reasonable walk zones. Another factor is using student enrollment projections to determine efficient use of educational facilities.

Hemphill Elementary, which has a current population of 825 students, could be most affected by the rezoning changes, Savoy said. The committee could address some issues of overcrowding at Blanco Vista and Science Hall as well.

However, Savoy said the rezoning committee won’t address potential overcrowding at campuses such as Elm Grove and Tom Green elementary schools at this time.

The district isn’t recommending changes to the new Buda Elementary campus, which will be located on Old San Antonio Road, as it already has a zone assigned to it.

In the case of Elm Grove, the school’s zone is “so close to the school,” Savoy said it would be impossible to carve out areas close to the school without going against the district’s neighborhood school concept. It could also lead to students traveling a farther distance to go to school.

Savoy said the projection numbers could begin to lessen for some campuses as the district plans for new elementary schools in a proposed 2019 and 2021 bond initiative.

Tactics currently employed are building “wet portables” at Elm Grove Elementary, which will help to house the current population.

Savoy said the maps aren’t set in stone and residents will be able to voice their opinions on the new rezoning maps.

“Rezoning is the most difficult thing a district can do,” Savoy said. “It’s one downside of a fast growing district.”

See a breakdown of the three possible plans here.

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