A proposal to rezone a portion of the north side of Lewisville ISD could send some students zoned for the Lewisville High School feeder pattern to Marcus High School.
During a work session Monday Joseph Coburn, chief schools officer, updated the Board of Trustees on a plan to rezone an area that would impact Highland Village Elementary and Valley Ridge Elementary. Doing so could cause some students who are currently zoned to go to LHS to go to Marcus.
Though maps are not yet drafted and a specific boundary plan hasn’t been determined, Coburn said one idea is to take Valley Ridge students generally located north of FM 407 and west of Interstate 35E, often referred to as the “bird streets,” and rezone them for Highland Village Elementary.
Coburn said there were two main reasons why this proposal is being considered. For one, it would reduce the number of Valley Ridge students who are crossing FM 407 to get to school.
Coburn said another reason is the Marcus feeder pattern is projected to get smaller over time.
He said the district is projecting MHS’ enrollment to drop to under 3,000 students by 2022 and down to 2,650 students by 2027. By comparison, LHS has an enrollment of 4,400.
“This was not originally discussed to save Marcus,” Superintendent Kevin Rogers said. “But it was ‘how can we relieve Valley Ridge, how can we relieve a 4,400 school enrollment?’”
Coburn said Highland Village Elementary could stand to benefit from additional students as well.
“It would get Highland Village Elementary up to the 400 range, which is a more robust number in terms of scheduling and options that we can offer to elementary students,” Coburn said, adding that there would be more scheduling flexibility without larger class sizes.
He said it would also free up space at Valley Ridge, which is a STEM Academy.
Coburn said traffic flow could improve on FM 407 as well since fewer students would be crossing the thoroughfare.
Coburn said while the entire area being looked at includes approximately 400 students, the actual proposal would aim to impact approximately 200 to “right size” Highland Village Elementary.
Trustee Tracy Scott Miller said while he’s not opposed to the plan he thinks there needs to be a larger conversation about rezoning district wide instead of multiple rezonings.
“I think we’re missing out on the big solution,” Miller said. “That’s not to say we don’t do this, but I don’t know how you get by with telling longtime families who are Fighting Farmers that you’re going to be zoned for Marcus.”
Trustees said they understand the position the district is in.
“I do think we need to have a balance,” Trustee Kronda Thimesch said. “I know that once a Farmer always a Farmer, but you can always be a Farmer even if you’re in a different feeder pattern. And I think giving parents the option I appreciate us doing that.”
Coburn said the plan is to draft a map in December or January and post it to the district’s website for parents to review. The district will also survey the families in the affected area and have information meetings.
In February the board is expected to vote on the proposal, and the district will present information about transfers, bus routes, etc.
If approved, the new boundary would go into effect in the 2020-21 school year.