Maintaining vertical alignment in secondary school feeder patterns was the opinion several residents Tuesday believed should be done as Hays CISD redraws its attendance maps.
Those comments were made during the district’s first of two scheduled public input meetings, which are part of its plan to rezone for Johnson High, which opens in August 2019. Tim Savoy, Hays CISD chief communications officer, said comments provided Tuesday will help the district’s 35-person rezoning committee toward crafting its final recommendation. The district envisions bringing a final recommendation to the board trustees no later than December.
Of the 13 people who provided verbal input, seven supported Draft Map 2, which was the only one of three proposed maps that maintained current secondary school feeder patterns. Draft Map 3 called for potential redrawing of middle school attendance boundaries, while Draft Map 4, which was an unpopular option among several speakers, could split all six middle school campuses.
Jennifer Price, rezoning committee chairperson, said she was not surprised Draft Map 2 had so much support. Of the 650 or so online comments made so far, Price said a good majority were either in favor of Map 2 or 3.
However, Price was unsurprised the fourth draft map was not well received.
“We had a feeling, but we (the committee) wanted to put it out there and give everyone the opportunity to see it,” Price said. “A lot of people want to keep vertical alignment, which is something we heard.”
Buda resident Angela Wheeler said she believed all three draft maps were relatively equal, but felt Draft Map 2 was the best option. She beleived the maps could alleviate overcrowding issues at all three campuses. Wheeler said students and parents want clean feeder patterns and vertical alignment.
John McKenna, a Kyle resident, believed current feeder patterns pose safety issues as students and buses navigate through congested roadways. McKenna advocated for west side Kyle to be zoned to Hays High, while east Kyle should go to Lehman, which he felt could alleviate transportation worries.
Jennifer Sutton, a parent of students at Blanco Vista Elementary, opposed Draft Map 4 as it goes “against everything Hays CISD is trying to foster” in its own rezoning polices.
Silverado resident Jessica Rico, who is also a parent of a current Wallace Middle School 8th grader, said her son believed keeping students together is what he hopes to see with the new rezoning maps.
But Kyle resident Stephanie Hallmark was concerned people could harbor a negative opinion of Lehman High, based on the tone of discussion Tuesday. While Hays is closer to her residence, Hallmark said she didn’t have issues with traveling across the highway to take her son to school.
“I don’t want somebody that could be zoned for Lehman to be scared, thinking it’s a bad school. It’s not. It’s a great school,” Hallmark said.
Kyle resident and Hays High alumnus Richard Guerrero questioned if the committee will consider how parents get their kids to and from school. His concern extended to his own route, which involves crossing Interstate 35 and railroad tracks in Kyle, which could pose dangers for those who commute.
But Guerrero said all three maps have a “major imbalance” when it comes to socioeconomics. Savoy said while the committee does discuss socioeconomic issues, it is not part of their policy when crafting rezoning maps.
Cree Robinson, a Hays High freshman, didn’t believe the district or committee members understood what students have to go through during rezoning. Robinson said she was rezoned to McCormick Middle School after going to Barton in 6th grade.
“I think splitting us, the way you’re doing it, is not going to help anyone,” Robinson said.
Kyle resident Jackie Liburd felt Draft Map 4 would be able to “bring kids on all sides of the tracks together.”
“I want kids from both sides of the tracks to be able to experience each other,” Liburd said.