Q: Where are future elementary and middle schools being built and where?
A: It is premature to answer that question because construction of future facilities would be tied to a future bond program. The district owns three pieces of property: 64.5 acres in the Headwaters neighborhood that is large enough for an elementary and middle school; 25 acres at the intersection of RR12 and Mt. Gainor Road that is large enough for an elementary school; and additional acreage at the site of Cypress Springs Elementary that could potentially accommodate a middle school and a high school, depending on community decisions that are made down the road. At this time, it is uncertain what year these schools would be built or in what order the properties would be used.
Q: Is consideration given for the number of moves a child would have over time?
A: Yes, this is a factor, which is partly represented by the parameter is to "avoid the need to redraw attendance zones until additional schools are brought online." Ideally, we would prefer to minimize the number of transitions that students make. This is certainly more challenging to do in a fast-growth district like DSISD. The committee looks at possible "catchment zones" that could occur when future schools are built, but without knowing for certain where and when additional schools will come online, decisions cannot be based on those possibilities.
Q: Why was the Views of Belterra moved out of Planning Unit 37A (in starter options)?
A: Demographers often use major roadways as natural dividers when creating maps and in this case, Nutty Brown Road was used as a divider when the starter options were drawn. Participants in the Feb. 1 community forum shared concerns about this and it was evaluated. Due to the low number of students in that neighborhood and the ability of Rooster Springs Elementary to accommodate them, the section was moved back to where it previously was.
Q: Is the relative affluence of neighborhoods a factor in development of potential attendance zones?
A: Demographic data ralated to socio-economic status in various areas was not a consideration in the development of the starter option maps. Since the first community meeting, we have worked with our demographer to see how this factor could fit into the puzzle. A column is being added to enrollment charts that lists the percentage of economically disadvantaged students at each campus. It’s also important to realize that as new neighborhoods are built, some natural shifts may occur within existing boundaries over time regarding economic demographics. Regarding overall educational experience, DSISD provides an equitable education to students at all schools following a Guaranteed Viable Curriculum.
Q: Why would attendance boundaries be changed if a realtor promised a buyer their children would attend a certain school?
A: Realtors do not determine attendance zones, which change over time as populations grow and shift (especially in a fast-growth district). In district conversations and updates with realtors, we always remind relators of this fact and explain that they should never promise any particular homebuyer that children will attend any particular school!
Q: At one time there was talk of expanding Sycamore Springs Middle School to 1,200 students? Is that still a consideration?
A: When the district was planning Sycamore Springs Middle School, the expansion of that campus to 1,200 at some point in the future was mentioned as a future option. At this point in time there is no funding mechanism in place to take that step, but the possibility has not been completely dismissed either. This project could be included in a future bond, or another funding method would have to be identified. Sycamore Springs currently has one portable (two classrooms) onsite, which currently is being used for the elementary school, but will no longer be needed when Cypress Springs Elementary opens and provides relief for SSE
Q: Could portable buildings be used at Sycamore Springs Middle School?
A: There are several reasons why DSISD has used portable buildings very sparingly over the years. Portables are not particularly cost-efficient because in addition to the cost of the structure, there is a substantial expense involved in set-up, such as connecting utilities. While it is permissible to use bond funds to cover the cost of portable buildings, districts generally treat this item as an operational expense and pay for portables from the district's Maintenance and Operations Fund. Sycamore Springs currently has one portable (two classrooms) onsite, which currently is being used for the elementary school, but will no longer be needed when Cypress Springs Elementary opens and provides relief for SSE.
Q: Was the Polo Club split in the starter options?
A: No, the entire Polo Club (listed as Polo Club at Rooster Springs on neighborhood list) is in Planning Unit 20A, along with other neighborhoods north of 290 between Sawyer Ranch and the eastern side of the district. That planning unit has not been split in any attendance zone scenario to date. The next planning unit to the west is 20B, which includes two subdivisions: Saratoga Hills and Key Ranch at Polo Club.
Q: Why would a student who is being moved to SSE still be zoned for DSMS?
A: While the opening of a fifth elementary school opens up some capacity for Grades preK through 5, it does not change the location or capacity of SSMS or DSMS. SSMS has a capacity of 850 students and DSMS has a capacity of 1,200 students. SSMS could not accommodate all the students who will be newly routed to SSE with its current capacity, in addition to all of the students who currently attend RSE and SSE (some of whom will be headed to CSE). Even if the district allowed class sizes to inflate to accommodate an over-capacity situation, common functions like cafeteria usage, services, traffic, and access to extracurricular activities would be impacted negatively for students.
Q: Why would students from one elementary school feed to two different middle schools?
A: When Cypress Spring Elementary opens, the district will have five elementary schools and two middle schools. What this means is that, at least temporarily, we no longer have an even feeder pattern with two elementary schools pairing with one middle school. SSMS has a lower capacity than DSMS and could not continue to accommodate the two elementary schools it currently serves as well as the new elementary school (see previous question for more).
Q: Have the bus routes been considered as starter option maps were developed?
A: The DSISD Transportation Department is involved in the attendance zone development and is reviewing options for potential issues with bus pick-up or drop-off. While actual routes will not be designed until attendance zones are finalized, this department is on the lookout for potential issues regarding routes. In addition to distance traveled and time spent on buses, the Transportation Department considers factors like: avoiding unprotected left turns across major traffic, turn-arounds that may be required, and the number of buses serving more remote areas.
Q: Would any students be grandfathered if their address is changed to a new school, such as students entering their last year on a campus or students receiving Special Education services?
A: Grandfathering would be an option to be considered by the Board of Trustees when adopting new attendance zones. Traditionally, the only grandfathering that has been implemented has been for students entering their final year at a specific school (fifth grade for elementary or eighth grade for middle school) and siblings of those students also could be considered for that single year. Each time we do an attendance zone change, this is a discussion and decision by the board.
Q: What level of growth projection is being used and how have projections changed as a result of the pandemic?
A: DSISD has continued to see growth this year despite the impact of COVID-19. With 246 new students (+3.4 percent), the increase in district enrollment is slightly lower than what had been predicted and closer to the demographer’s low-growth scenario. For the past several years, we have been using the moderate- to high-growth projections because that has been the reality in our district.
Q: Can consideration be made for neighborhoods like Howard Ranch, Chama Trace, the Preserve, and Kirby Springs to remain zoned to Walnut Springs Elementary?
A: At this time, Planning Unit 33 is routed to Sycamore Springs Elementary in all three elementary options. It is important that we consider future projections and strive to match building capacities with student enrollment over time. Walnut Springs Elementary's enrollment is projected to see significant increases and some relief will be needed.
Q: For parents who enrolled preK or kindergarten students at a certain campus, will they have to re-enroll if their address gets assigned elsewhere in the new attendance zones?
A: No, the distirct will make that change.