During a Marble Falls Independent School District board meeting March 21, Assistant Superintendent Jeff Gasaway briefed school board members on a community committee being created to review current elementary school attendance zone boundaries set within the district. YouTube Live screenshot
The Marble Falls Independent School District administration is creating a community committee to review the district’s current elementary school attendance zones and determine whether boundary adjustments are necessary. Details of the process were discussed during the Board of Trustees meeting Monday, March 21.
“The purpose of the process is that we could convene a committee of parents, staff, and community members to review and provide recommendations and any possible modifications to elementary attendance zones,” explained Assistant Superintendent Jeff Gasaway at the meeting. “Our guiding principles would be to balance elementary enrollments across MFISD as much as possible, to keep neighborhoods and subdivisions intact, to leverage natural boundaries as much as possible, and then develop district policy on grandfathering options.”
Currently, the district has four elementary schools: Colt, Highland Lakes, Marble Falls, and Spicewood. The campus a student attends is determined by the school attendance zone in which they live.
A review of the district’s attendance zones is overdue as it has not happened for more than a decade, Gasaway said. He also noted that significant boundary adjustments have taken place only twice over the past 20 years, the first in 2004 for the opening of Spicewood Elementary and the other in 2009 when Colt Elementary was relocated to its current facility.
Once formed, the community committee will be made up of at least 20 people, with each attendance zone represented by committee members recommended by district leadership. District staff, such as campus principals, the district’s director of transportation, Superintendent Chris Allen, and Gasaway, will also participate.
With the committee’s help, Allen pointed out during the meeting, administration can take proactive steps to address issues such as a strain on staff caused by increasing student enrollment as more people move to the area.
The district expects an influx of students within the next several years as families move into new housing developments, including master-planned communities such as Gregg Ranch and Thunder Rock, both of which are located near the intersection of Texas 71 and U.S. 281 just south of Marble Falls.
“The best time to move zones is before the children and families are affected, not afterwards,” Allen said. “If you know the developments are coming and you know where they’re coming and there are things you can do to be a little ahead of that, it’s not a bad idea. Especially when, in the process of doing that, you balance the administrative burden across your campuses.”
Additionally, boundary adjustments of this nature can be done to more evenly spread out students among existing campuses instead of building a new one.
While the committee will be tasked with conducting a thorough review of school boundaries, the district is approaching the process with an open mind on whether adjustment recommendations to the school board will be needed.
“There is not a prescribed outcome (for the committee), and there are many acceptable outcomes,” Gasaway said.