Protesting a possible school boundary change

Over the summer, a friend mentioned that she heard there might be a boundary change that would affect where my kids go to middle school. Even though they are in elementary (kindergarten and second grade), I was still curious if this was a rumor or something that might happen.

I immediately emailed the principal, and even though it was July, he responded right away. He hadn’t heard anything yet but would keep me (and all the parents) up to date. He assured me that they would have a public meeting BEFORE any boundaries were changed.

Well, this September, it seems the rumors may be true. A new middle school is set to open next August. Currently, there is only one middle school in this area, and they will have to redo the boundaries. boundary mapNow my house is situated with pretty much equal distance from the Elementary School (EPE) and the Middle School (TMS). (It is .4 miles to EPE and .3 miles to TMS.) We are clearly in walking distance to both school. In fact, we walk daily to the Elementary school – even in the 100+ Texas heat. The only thing that causes us to drive is a downpour.

So the thought that they may take everyone from EPE and send them to the new middle school (by bus) seems crazy. But I know that school districts in other cities (and for all I know my city) have done this before.

The school district has asked for comments before their upcoming November meeting where they will propose the new boundaries. I wrote a 700 word letter and emailed it to them.

Basically, I sited proximity as the main reason for not liking the possible change. Really, we are so CLOSE to the middle school. It will be about a 5-minute walk. There is no way I want my kids bused to another school if they can walk to one that is essentially across the street from our subdivision. It would be a waste of resources by the school district to do this.

Another concern is what this could do to the appeal of our neighborhood to potential new residents. Surveys show that school boundaries play a role in home-buying decisions sixty percent of the time. If potential buyers look in our area, they may not want to move here when they find out their kids will not go to the middle school that is in walking distance of their home.

And my last argument focused upon the community feel that we have with EPE and TMS. Students from EPE often walk over for events at TMS. This would not work if they have to go to a farther away middle school, or if they do go for events there, they will have to be bused, which obviously is a more expensive option and one the principal may not be willing to forego.

It won’t be just my letter the district will receive. I (and many other parents) are urging others to write in and voice their opinions. Whether our wishes will be taken into consideration or not, I don’t know. However, I will most likely be at the November meeting. And if they propose this boundary change, I will be voicing my opposition.

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