New attendance zone maps that rezone all grade levels in the southern half of the Mansfield school district got positive reviews from trustees.
They will vote on the maps May 22. If approved, the new maps go into effect for the 2020-21 school year.
The attendance zoning relieves overcrowding at several campuses in the southern portion of the district by rezoning hundreds of students to new campuses.
Southern Mansfield includes three master-planned communities — South Pointe, Somerset and the M3 Ranch Estates — that will add more than 4,400 new rooftops to the city, according to the district’s demographer, Templeton Demographics.
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Last May, Mansfield ISD voters approved a $275 million bond package that included the new Brenda Norwood Elementary School, Alma Martinez Intermediate School and Charlene McKinzey Middle School. The three campuses are scheduled to open in the fall of 2020 in the booming South Pointe development far southeast Mansfield.
All three developments would be zoned to the new schools under the proposed maps.
Trustees had a few questions but generally supported the maps at their April 24 meeting. There were no public comments about the maps.
Norwood primarily relieves overcrowding at Annette Perry Elementary School, while Martinez and McKinzey mostly take students from Mary Lillard Intermediate School and Danny Jones Middle School.
“We have fixed the overcrowding situation at Lillard, and Alma Martinez doesn’t get to a crowded situation until 2026,” said David Wright, assistant superintendent of student services and support.
There’s no new high school in the plans to relieve Lake Ridge High School, so the rezoning shuffles students near downtown to either Legacy High School or Mansfield High School.
The attendance zone committee has been looking at map options for months. The district hosted two community meetings to get feedback from parents.
Initially, there were two high school attendance maps. But parents from Legacy were concerned about an influx of students from Lake Ridge pushing their school into 6A competition.
“They weren’t happy that Legacy was bearing the brunt of the change,” Wright said. “We went back to the drawing board and for the next committee meeting, we addressed that by taking everything south of East Broad Street and north of Heritage Parkway all the way to [South Main Street] and making that go to Mansfield High.”
That map, dubbed option 3, was the map that the administration recommended to the school board on April 24.
Parents from Elizabeth Smith Elementary School opposed the plan to zone the campus to the new intermediate and middle schools in South Pointe when they live much closer to Lillard and Jones.
Wright said the move was necessary to relieve overcrowding at the schools on Day Miar Road without disrupting other campuses.
“They’re at capacity now,” Wright said. “Even though we’re moving it, we’re moving it intact. We’re not splitting up the school.”
The district is also proposing exemptions for students at the top of each grade configuration so they can stay at their existing campus. That way, fourth-, sixth- and eighth-graders and high school juniors and seniors could be exempt. The recommendation also includes exemptions for younger siblings so they can stay together.
The district is also proposing early transfers for incoming freshmen to move a year early so they can start at their newly rezoned high school for the 2019-20 school year.
Board President Raul Gonzalez asked about future overcrowding at Cora Spencer Elementary School in Grand Prairie.
Wright said Spencer’s enrollment will exceed 800 students by 2023 but future projections show the number declining after that.
“We didn’t feel like that was worthy of disrupting an entire attendance zone,” Wright said.
The new maps get the district closer to having an established feeder pattern, with some middle schools splitting into one or two high schools instead of three, Wright said.