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VISD zoning maps could relocate 469 elementary students

By KBell
Jan. 19, 2012 at 9:05 p.m.
Updated Jan. 19, 2012 at 7:20 p.m.

A new attendance zone map for Victoria schools would move about 469 elementary kids out of their current schools, according to a proposal introduced at Thursday night's school board meeting.

The map would add students to Crain, DeLeon and Smith elementary schools while decreasing enrollment at O'Connor, Shields and Torres elementary schools.

Changes to attendance zones mostly involve grabbing or relinquishing small neighborhoods or a few streets at the edge of current attendance zones to develop more equally-populated schools that hover around 525 students per campus.

"We're preserving and fostering a neighborhood school. You can walk there, easily get to and from ... We're not trying to break up neighborhoods," said Board President Tami Keeling.

The tweaks will not mingle boundaries, demographics or populations between east and west learning communities. That leaves high schools unaffected by the new map.

When the east and west learning communities were created two years ago, the board made it policy to review attendance zones every other year, Keeling said.

"If you don't make small adjustments every two years, then you end up getting completely out of balance ... in terms of ethnicity, socioeconomic and crowdedness," she said.

In two years, the number of economically disadvantaged students on both sides of town remain within a percentage point of each other: 65 percent at east and 64 percent at west. The east learning community has about 255 more students than the west.

Changes in the middle schools, meanwhile, will be mostly due to changes at the elementary level.

The proposed map would send William Wood Elementary's about 40 students to Howell Middle School instead of to Stroman Middle School, where they currently attend.

Patti Welder Middle School would receive about 21 more students from Cade Middle School due to tweaks at its feeder schools.

In developing the map, Superintendent Bob Moore said, the district took into consideration housing complexes under construction and the potential for students to enroll in Vista Academy of Victoria, a charter school set to open in the fall.

Tray Ballard, VISD's energy management coordinator, presented the maps to the board. He added that students entering the fifth and eighth grades would be excused from having to switch campuses in their final year at a school.

"When you take into consideration the grandfathering for students, it should not be extremely difficult on the kids," Keeling said.

The maps will be open for public discussion at a meeting date to be determined. At the recommendation of Board Secretary Estella De Los Santos, the board will give the maps longer consideration, waiting until after February's regular meeting to take a vote on the changes. The board will most likely call a special meeting before March's spring break.


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