AISD demos

Allen ISD's overall enrollment is stagnating, but district officials say distribution of its student body is overcrowding certain elementary schools, while leaving others significantly below capacity. 

In a Monday workshop meeting, Allen ISD Deputy Superintendent Daniel Pitcock told trustees that enrollment has increased on the west and northwest side of U.S. 75, just as enrollment on the east side of the highway has decreased.

This was attributed in part to increased commercial development along State Highway 121 and the resulting influx of "live-work-play" communities, among other factors. 

Consequently, Allen ISD's Lindsey Elementary School in McKinney (which is located directly north of SH 121) is 16% above its optimal functional capacity, Pitcock said. Other elementary schools such as Boon, Evans and Cheatham are also increasing in enrollment, while Kerr, Norton and Preston elementary schools are expected to exceed their functional capacity by 2026. 

Meanwhile, elementary schools such as Story, Anderson and Marion are each other 30% below capacity and are accounting for less of Allen ISD's total student body than in previous years. 

To mitigate these problems, Pitcock said the district is investigating what opportunities they have to efficiently utilize each school's capacity and make student body distribution more uniform. Another potential course of action includes bolstering specialized programming such as pre-K, special education and high school dual credit, which are typically conducted at other facilities. 

“There’s 3,000 empty elementary spots across this district, and when you’re looking at a Lindsey that is sitting with (…) 905, 925 or 30 kids, and then you’ve got another two-story on the east side of town that’s sitting with 525 kids,” said Superintendent Robin Bullock after Pitcock's presentation. “We are going to have to engage in the process to be able to shift enrollment to balance it better across the district.”

While Monday's deliberation was only a discussion, trustees indicated that they will consider action on the issue in a later meeting. 

Garrett Gravley is the reporter for the Plano Star Courier, Allen American, Little Elm Journal and The Colony Courier-Leader. Email him at ggravley@starlocalmedia.com with story suggestions.

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