Cypress Edition | February 2023

GROWING PAINS Throughout the attendance boundary discussions starting in late 2022, district officials shared the disadvantages of having both too many and not enough students on any given campus.

projections. At this time, the con- struction of a new high school would cost an estimated $275 million, and rezoning helps postpone the need for another bond program, officials said. “Please know that we don’t take these recommendations lightly,” Hull said. “We understand the complexity of this. We understand the emotion of the parents when faced with having to change schools.” Community input Residents from a few neighbor- hoods—including Bridge Creek, Towne Lake, Hidden Arbor and Stone Gate—made up most of the feedback shared at board meetings over the past two months. Parent concerns included the potential of neighborhoods being split up, being moved from schools they were told their children would attend when they purchased their homes and increased travel times. Others expressed concerns for stu- dents’ mental health when faced with the uncertainty of a new school. Sophia Payrovi, an eighth grade Spillane Middle School student, spoke at the Jan. 9 board work session about her desire to stay zoned to Cypress Ranch—the campus she has been look- ing forward to attending for years. She said the pandemic disrupted her fifth grade year, and she never got to say goodbye to many of her friends zoned to Arnold Middle School. “Then I was online all of sixth grade, and I got social anxiety because of it. So, basically, I had to re-enter seventh grade knowing almost nobody, with social anxiety, and that is extremely difficult because middle school is hard enough as it is,” she said. Trustees empathized with the emotions parents and students expressed throughout the past sev- eral meetings. Board President Tom

Jackson shared the experience his own children went through in over- crowded CFISD schools. Trustee Debbie Blackshear acknowledged making boundary changes was her least favorite part of her job as a trustee due to the pain- ful nature of the process. She also explained shifts in the district’s atten- dance boundaries are to be expected in such a fast-growing district. “I am so sorry for those of you that your Realtors told you that your child would attend a certain school. … They can’t promise that,” Blackshear said. A split decision By Jan. 12, the board had narrowed its final decision to two options— approve the recommended bound- ary changes as proposed by district administration, or pause the rezoning of Stone Gate residents from Cypress Ranch to Cypress Falls and decide that part of the plan next year. This idea of a pause came about at the Jan. 9 meeting. Dozens of resi- dents showed up to ask the board to keep them zoned to Cypress Ranch. Several residents said they believe Stone Gate is more established and does not have as many new families moving into the neighborhood as some other parts of the district. Oth- ers proposed a pause on the decision, noting economic uncertainty of the next year may influence the projected enrollment levels. Trustees Blackshear, Jackson, Julie Hinaman and Gilbert Sarabia approved the administration’s recom- mendation, which did not include the pause. The board’s newest members— Lucas Scanlon, Natalie Blasingame and Scott Henry—voted in opposition. “We’ve heard it come up numer- ous times—we want to minimize dis- ruption, but we also have financial responsibility to use our assets well,”

OVERCROWDED CAMPUSES Teachers often must “float” with no home base for their classrooms, which makes connecting with students difficult.

Certain classes may fill up quicker, causing students to delay certain opportunities. Constant hiring throughout the year may take administration away from other responsibilities. Campus event capacity may need to be limited. Event parking and security can also be challenging. A larger student population means more competition for class ranking, team placement and club officer positions. Having more students makes it more difficult to meet the academic needs of all students.

Portable buildings take up student parking spaces on high school campuses.

Transitions between classes can be stressful and longer than necessary due to crowded hallways.

Visitors may not be permitted during lunchtime due to limited seating.

Adding new elementary homerooms causes temporary disruption, and parents are typically unsettled. UNDER CAPACITY CAMPUSES Certain higher-level courses may not be offered when there are not enough students to fill classes. Smaller schools face tougher

There is little flexibility in the course scheduling process to accommodate students’ needs. Fewer parents are available to support campuses financially and with volunteer time.

competition against larger schools in athletics, academics and fine arts. Tasks such as arrival and dismissal can be more challenging with low staffing.


Scanlon said. “One of the things that I want to make sure that I’m paying attention to is the weight that I pro- vide to the voice of the community.” Students affected by the boundary change entering fifth grade or eighth grade in 2023-24 can remain at their current campus if parents provide transportation. This option is also available for younger siblings attend- ing the same campus in 2023-24.

At the high school level, boundary changes only impact incoming ninth graders. Affected students who will have an older sibling in 10th, 11th or 12th grade attending the affected high school can choose to transfer to their original high school instead.

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