Carroll trustees continue to look at open enrollment

Posted Wednesday, May. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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School leaders appear to be moving closer to allowing students who live in Southlake — but are zoned in the Keller or Northwest school district — to attend Carroll schools.

Board President Read Ballew said people have expressed great interest in such a program.

“There are a lot of people who want to be in Carroll, which is great,” he said.

The proposal could help bring state dollars to Carroll, but school leaders want to make sure they don’t end up spending more money in the long run. Carroll could get about $5,500 for every student who transfers using open enrollment.

The 2012-13 Carroll budget faced an estimated shortfall of $1.6 million. Trustees have struggled with deficit issues since state funding reductions resulted in more than $8 million in cuts in 2011.

Ballew said the issue rests largely on space availability.

“We are not going to build new buildings for open enrollment,” he said.

Board members asked administrators to present a recommendation on the program. Officials have said about 400 children would qualify for open enrollment.

Ballew said trustees are using open-enrollment policies from other North Texas districts as a template.

Birdville has an open-enrollment transfer program for residents and nonresidents of the school district. Coppell allows students who live in the city but outside the attendance boundaries to attend its schools. The latter is in line with what Carroll leaders are exploring.

The district offers transfers to students who meet certain criteria, including the children of district employees and students in the Carroll Medical Academy.

The Carroll district has 7,688 students, according to the enrollment study. District leaders have said about 87 percent live in Southlake. The district also includes part of Grapevine.

By 2020-21, the district is expected to grow to 7,958 students, according to a recent presentation of demographic projections. Campuses such as Old Union Elementary and Eubanks Intermediate are projected to steadily decrease over the next eight school years, according to the study.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Diane Smith, 817-390-7675 Twitter: @dianeasmith1

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