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Board approves attendance zones

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By LPR Staff

Editor/POST-REGISTER

 

Will your child have to go to a new school next year?

If you are the parent of more than 1,200 students who will be affected by the Lockhart Independent School District’s choice to impose elementary attendance zones, the answer to that question is “yes.”

The LISD Board of Trustees voted on

Monday evening to approve a map that will break the district into five geographical zones, and assign elementary school students accordingly.

“The community is concerned about their children having to change schools,” said Superintendent Susan K. Bohn as the final incarnation of the map was presented to the Trustees. “But they have been gracious and understanding, and I think that is because of the work that the committee put in [to hearing their concerns and acting as fairly as possible].”

The need for attendance zones became evident to District leadership as the construction of Alma Brewer Strawn Elementary nears completion, and the question about which students would be assigned to the new campus demanded an answer.

Through an extensive process of researching demographics and campus capacities, the committee made decisions about where the lines should be drawn. Although spokesperson Carrie Smith said the committee did hear concerns after the initial maps were released, she said the changes were not workable in the grand scheme.

“It’s hard to deal with when you’re just thinking about your kid,” she said. “But we have to think about everyone.”

In addition to the map included with this article, LISD has made available an online interactive map available, which will allow parents to plug in an address and determine where their child will attend school next year.

In preparing for those transitions, Bohn said the District is planning a series of social events and campus tours, which will allow parents and students to meet and become familiar with their news schools.

“I take it very seriously that more than 1,200 kids are going to be in a new school,” she said. “And I hope that parents will take every opportunity we offer to make that transition easier.”

She said plans were tentative for both daytime campus tours for children, and for evening social events for parents, and that an official schedule should be nailed down this week.

While few exceptions are expected to be made to the attendance zone policy, Bohn said students who receive special services may be assigned to a campus outside their attendance zone.

“We haven’t made the determination where some special education programs will be located,” she said. “So that will of course make a difference if the students are receiving those services.”

Bilingual programs will only be offered at three campuses. Bilingual students who live in the Strawn zone will be assigned to Strawn, and Bilingual students living in the Plum Creek zone will attend Plum Creek. Bilingual students in the other three attendance zones (Clear Fork, Navarro and Bluebonnet) will attend Bluebonnet Elementary.

In a related item, the Board approved a strict transfer policy, that will only allow student transfers to another campus under extenuating circumstances, such as the child’s educational or health needs, and generally requires that a student attend the school for which they are zoned.

The one exception to that rule will be for incoming fifth graders, who will be eligible for a one-year grandfathering, in order to complete their elementary education at their home campus. Parents that hope to have their fourth graders grandfathered must apply for that grandfathering prior to April 8, 2016. Parents should have received a letter this week explaining the grandfathering process.

LISD will host two public meetings in the coming weeks to assist parents with questions or concerns about the zoning and grandfathering processes. The first will be on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, from 6 – 8 p.m. at Lockhart Junior High School, and the second will be on Thursday, April 14, 2016, from 6 – 8 p.m. at Plum Creek Elementary School. Additionally questions can be addressed to Lockhart ISD Central Office at (512) 398-0000, online at www.lockhartisd.org, or via email to attendance.zones@lockhart.txed.net.

 

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