RRISD Boundary Hearing TONIGHT  7:30PM • WBE Cafeteria

A quick reminder should any of you have questions about the boundary meeting tonight – If you live in RRISD, please take a moment to read and evaluate the information below as well as the presentation you’ll see tonight on the District’s demographic study (attached PDF file). ***Please note: Attendance numbers are missing for several of the apartment complexes in the District’s maps as well as any numbers that would be forecast for build out in the communities north of WB. Even if you don’t have children, boundary assignments can affect home values and resale. Please read, voice your opinions and vote.

Download RRISD Boundary Presentation HERE:

It’s a little long, but I felt it necessary to include explanations for those new to the community and I didn’t have time to polish it! My apologies!

New Boundaries:

The proposed boundaries are not what any of us expected. If adopted, all of Willow Run as well as Brattonwood, The Lake at Wells Branch, The Pond at Wells Branch and homes north of the library and east of Wells Port (Rick Whinery, Emmett, Fuzz Fairway, Nathan, Natural Spring Way, Waterway Bend and Waterway Cove) will attend the new elementary school.

After the hearings, the consultants will make a final recommendation to the board on November 19. The board will take action at their December 17 meeting to approve new attendance zones.

The ONLY person to show up at the Bluebonnet Elementary hearing was a WB resident.

Issues I feel we should ask about:

  • Middle School #11 will break ground in the Spring/Summer of 2016 and hopefully open in the Fall of 2017.
  • Boundaries for Deer Park and Chisholm Trail will likely be adjusted next fall for implementation in Fall 2017.

Dr. Flores has stated that he is a proponent of vertical alignment.
If that’s the case, then what are the future plans for the children of ES No.34? Without boundary changes at MS and HS levels, half the children will track to Deer Park and the other half to Chisholm Trail.

  • Will all of the ES No. 34 kids be routed to one middle school, Chisholm Trail, as I’ve heard?
  • Does the district plan on realigning the high school boundaries as well and placing all ES No. 34 children at RRHS?
  • Will this be a permanent move or will our children be moved once again when attendance capacity changes at RRHS?
  • What are the long range plans for the children of Wells Branch Elementary?

We’ve heard that under the new boundaries, WBE will drop to 65% capacity. The new school will open at 57% capacity. When is ES No. 34 forecast to hit 100%? North of WB, we have a 274 affordable housing unit about to lease, a 445 unit apartment complex due to be completed in 2017, and 347 single family homes being built. And those are just the ones we know about.

  • When ES No. 34 reaches capacity, which of our original neighborhoods will be switched back to WBE?

It was mentioned briefly at the board meeting that the lower capacity would enable implementation of new programs at WBE and ES No. 34.

  • What are these special programs and how will they differ between schools?
  • Will WB parents be able to choose which school best suits their needs?

The District has stated that they’re concerned about maintaining a demographic balance between the two schools. Their primary concern at their board meeting seemed to be balancing ELL students and economically disadvantaged students between the schools. I question their data. Looking at the map, it appears to me that they’ve carved out the most affluent sections of WB for the new school rather than balancing those as well.

  • How will this affect volunteerism and ultimately support for Wells Branch Elementary?
  • If the lower income areas are segregated, will this eventually cause issues between the two areas? The haves and have nots?
  • Will this cause a decline in the older sections of Wells Branch?
  • Will all the RRISD children of Wells Branch be allowed to track together for MS and HS?
  • The District recognizes that we are geographically separated from the rest of RRISD. Given this consideration, we feel it’s a fair request for our children to stay together. It will be much easier for the community as a whole to support one middle school and one high school.

My kids are grown. I’m bringing these questions forward because of past history with RRISD. We have many new residents and lots of parents with young children who haven’t thought about boundaries, vertical alignment or the ability of the District to realign at will. I urge each of you to ask what their end game is. What does the District have planned for Wells Branch five years from now? 

  • Personally, I’d like to see vertical alignment. I understand and support the need for two elementary schools, but I’d like to see all the kids come together at middle school and track to the same high school.
  • I am afraid that splitting the neighborhood along perceived economic lines, especially if the split continues up through MS and HS, will have a detrimental effect on our community.
  • I am concerned about overall impact on the community as a whole as we are already split between PfISD & RRISD.

For the last several years, the children of Wells Branch have been used to balance other school populations because we’re on the outskirts of RRISD whereas almost all the other RRISD students have dedicated high schools and have seen minimal change. Willow Run had their HS moved 3 times in 4 years. I am concerned that the zoning proposed for ES No. 34 indicates another impending move. I would like to know what RRISD has in mind for ALL of Wells Branch, elementary through high school for the next five years.

I strongly encourage parents to be supportive, optimistic and finally, excited about possible changes with their children as they are just that, children and shouldn’t have to deal with uncertainty or anxiety throughout the process. That being said, parents need to take an active role in the process and make sure all of their questions are answered. At the end of the day, I hope that the entire neighborhood can come together to support all of the changes that we’ve undergone in the last several months as well as the ones we face ahead. Maintaining our sense of community throughout is paramount.

For those with questions about Vertical Alignment:

Vertical alignment is basically the setting of boundaries so that children begin at the same elementary, then follow to the same middle school and on to the same high school. Multiple elementary schools can feed to one middle school and more than one middle school to a single high school. The core idea is that neighborhoods are kept together throughout the journey.

Currently, WBE children are split at middle school and then reunited at McNeil. Prior to that, Willow Run children began at WBE, were sent to Chisholm Trail Middle School and then on the Cedar Ridge. They were the only WB children from Chisholm Trail (about 60 kids) to be sent to Cedar Ridge – the rest of the CTMS students went to RRHS. All the other WB kids went to Deer Park and then on to McNeil. Before the move to Cedar Ridge, WB split at middle school with half tracking to Deer Park and on to McNeil and the other half to Chisholm Trail and then on to Round Rock HS with their peers from CTMS.

Ideally, it would be nice if WBE & ES #34 kids could attend the same middle school and same high school. Our neighborhood is split already with around 35% going to Connally HS in PfISD. I’d like to keep the other 65% together 🙂

Debby Thompson, 512-656-0654

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