Arlington school board approves campus rezoning

11/19/2013 12:00 AM

11/19/2013 4:02 PM

Hundreds of elementary students will attend different schools next fall after the school board approved a campus rezoning effort.

About 600 students from Roark, Berry, Rankin, Blanton, Crow, Knox and Thornton elementaries will see a change in their classrooms as a part of the district’s effort to relieve overcrowding in east Arlington. The schools are 10 percent over capacity on average.

Blanton, Knox and Rankin will get additional classrooms and renovations to make room for the 200 extra students they’ll each receive. The estimated cost of the additions at three schools is $16.8 million, which will come from surplus 1999 and 2009 bond funds and the general fund.

School board President Bowie Hogg said the district continues to work on the overcrowding problem and will add an additional 900-capacity elementary on Workman Junior High property in 2015-16.

“We know we still need to do some additional additions and minimize the amount of temporaries,” Hogg said. “...By all means this does not solve all the overcrowding in east Arlington. This is one piece of the puzzle.”

Community members ranked school boundary changes ranked fourth to new construction, creating flexible facilities and renovations and additions in a recent capital needs questionnaire the on the district’s website.

Assistant Superintendent Michael Hill started meeting with parents early October to talk about the changes that will send children who previously attended Berry, Crow, Thornton and Roark to Blanton, Knox or Rankin for the 2014-15 school year.

Students will be assigned to new schools based on ethnicity balance, educational needs, transportation costs, distance from their homes and other factors.

Students who will start the sixth grade next fall will have the option to stay at their current school. So will their siblings regardless of grade. Transfer students from the 2013-14 school year will also be allowed to stay at their current schools.

All seven elementaries will be closed to new transfers during the 2014-15 school year.

Hogg said they try to grandfather in students when possible, and that if parents do not want their children transferred they can simply go talk to current principals who will refer requests to the superintendent’s office.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

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