News Articles

PROPOSED RE-ZONING OF PLANO ISD-TALKING POINTS
Posted on Mar 1st, 2012

OVERARCHING ISSUE - The PISD district staff is presenting a re-zoning solution to the Huffman overcrowding issue that shifts the burden of overcrowding from one school (Huffman) to another (Haggar), and gives the appearance of social engineering. If the district is focused on reducing the functional capacity at Huffman, then a re-zoning plan that makes RMH start off the 2012-13 school year at close to 100% of its functioning capacity is not a good solution. Equal distribution of enrollment and resources in order to avoid education inequality for all children in PISD is the best solution.OVERARCHING ISSUE - The PISD district staff is presenting a re-zoning solution to the Huffman overcrowding issue that shifts the burden of overcrowding from one school (Huffman) to another (Haggar), and gives the appearance of social engineering. If the district is focused on reducing the functional capacity at Huffman, then a re-zoning plan that makes RMH start off the 2012-13 school year at close to 100% of its functioning capacity is not a good solution. Equal distribution of enrollment and resources in order to avoid education inequality for all children in PISD is the best solution.
 
a. Under the proposed re-zoning plan, the following modifications are being recommended:
i. Potentially moving 28 students living in the Lakes of Willow Bend community from Huffman into the Centennial zone
ii. Potentially moving 75 students that live in the apartments west of the Tollway from Huffman up to Brinker. These students will drive past the Huffman, Barksdale and Centennial communities en route to Brinker
iii. Potentially moving 69 students living in the Champions apartment complex from Huffman to Haggar
b. From a sheer numbers perspective, the impact of these modifications on local PISD elementary schools includes:
i. Rose Mary Haggar, a recognized school, goes up to 99.1% of its functioning capacity
ii. Huffman, an acceptable school, goes down to 92.6% of its functioning capacity
iii. Centennial, an exemplary school goes up to 95.6% of its functioning capacity
iv. Brinker, an exemplary school, goes up to 90.6% of its functioning capacity
v. Barksdale, an exemplary school, does not participate in relieving Huffman's overcrowding issues, even though it's closer to Huffman than Brinker and is at 90.1% of its functioning capacity.
vi. Jackson, a recognized school, does not participate in relieving Huffman's overcrowding issues, and it's at 78.6% of its functioning capacity
2. The general perception is that the board is targeting economically disadvantaged students in the Section 8 apartment complex that the board proposes to move from Huffman to Haggar. The current proposal places the bulk of the burden on RMH, a "recognized" school that has struggled in recent years, while entirely overlooking Barksdale, an "exemplary" school with a lower percentage of economically disadvantaged students, so-called "high risk," ESL and special education students.
School
Status
% Econ. Disadv.
% “At Risk”
ESL (Limited English Proficient)
% Special Education
RMH
Recognized
27.4
33.2
12.1
8.8
Brinker
Exemplary
5.3
15.1
5.6
8.2
Barksdale
Exemplary
9.7
15.7
5.8
7.6
Huffman
Academically Acceptable
48.5
10.4
37.4
Source 2010-2011 AEIS Reports
3. The lack of transparency and communication regarding this proposal and the apparent “rush” to push this proposal through without involving the RMH teachers, PTA, parents, and community is deeply troubling.
a. The RMH parent community was not alerted of the re-zoning proposal until Feb. 14 when Haggar Principal Cindy Savant sent an email titled "RMH Meeting" to a small group of parents at RMH (33), which included the PTA board, WATCH Dog officers, and room coordinators.
i. The email message stated there would be a meeting on Feb. 16 to address "presentation of district proposed attendance zone modifications." This meeting was scheduled at a time (9:30 am) that conflicted with the schedules of many working parents, and on the same day as school field trips and parent-teacher conferences, so only about [15] parents were able to attend.
ii. The timing of this meeting meant that the small group of parents that attended had about 2 weeks to raise awareness of the re-zoning proposal among the RMH community before the vote on the proposed re-zoning, scheduled for March 6.
b. The district staff consulted with the teachers at Huffman to determine that the school needed to cut 160 to 170 students. The district staff did not consult with the teachers at Haggar about the impact of adding 69 students to Haggar. It seems that the only "voice" that Haggar has had in re-zoning discussions is Principal Cindy Savant, who had only been with Haggar for a little over a year.
4. The PISD board needs to demand a re-zoning proposal that equalizes enrollment based on capacity and resources at the surrounding elementary schools to ensure more equal educational opportunities across the affected schools.
a. All surrounding schools benefit from more fairly/evenly drawn lines and from more equalized population and resource distribution. This approach helps to ensure that the achievement gap that exists between schools in our area does not continue to grow
b. No one can deny that it is in the best interest of all children in the district to attend less crowded schools that have a record of excellence in achievement.
c. RMH is happy to participate in a more fair and equitable proposal and will welcome their share of students no matter where they come from. What is not acceptable is to shift the issues faced by Huffman Elementary to RMH. It is not in the best interest of the students currently at RMH nor for the students who will potentially be new to RMH in Sept 2012.
Relevant Information
1. "Program Capacity" is defined as if every available seat was occupied and allows no flexibility. The flexibility is built in to the "Functional Capacity" number, which usually is around 85% of program capacity (but not always; varies by campus).
2. PISD School Board President Tammy Richards owns a home in the Lakes of Willow Bend community and is supporting a proposal that will re-zone her home to the Centennial community, which has an Exemplary school and all single family homes. She will benefit economically from the current proposal because the value of her home will increase by being associated with Centennial, an exemplary school, vs. Huffman, an Acceptable school. This is a conflict of interest.
3. PISD trustee David Stolle owns a home in the Jackson community, which is at 78.6% of its functional capacity and is not part of the solution.
4. The state of Texas awards the most successful schools with an "Exemplary" rating. Both Barksdale and Brinker are considered Exemplary schools. Based on data from their 2010-11 AEIS reports, about 82% of Barksdale's students performed high and about 18% underperformed. Preliminary findings show that on average, schools with at least 80% of high performers receive an Exemplary status.
5. Title 1 Status - Schools under 35-40% economically disadvantaged population can choose between Title 1 Schoolwide or Title 1 Targeted Assistance programs.
a. According to 2011 AEIS data, 27.4% of the Haggar student body comes from economically disadvantaged homes. Once the 69 targeted students living in the Champions complex, which is Section 8, are re-zoned to Haggar, Haggar's population of economically disadvantaged students will increase, moving the school into the Title 1 Schoolwide status.
Current Re-zoning proposal
The board’s current re-zoning proposal would result in the following outcome:
STATUS
Projected Enrollment
Enrollment with modification
Functioning Capacity1
without a modification % of capacity
w/modifications % of capacity
Brinker
Exemplary
603
678
748
80.6
90.6
Jackson
Recognized
715
715
Not confirmed (but based on 78.6% capacity is about 900)
78.6
78.6
Huffman
Acceptable
733
561
606
121.0
92.6
RMH
Recognized
592
661
666
88.9
99.2
Centennial
Exemplary
535
563
589
90.8
95.6
Barksdale
Exemplary
647
647
718
90.1
90.1
1 Barksdale's and Jackson's functioning capacity was calculated based on an email that David Stolle stated that Barksdale is at 90.1% functioning capacity and Jackson is at 78.6% of its functioning capacity. They were not presented on 2/21.
Alternative Proposal
A number of parents in the RMH community have discussed an alternative plan to the one currently before the board. This proposal would achieve more equalization of populations and resources across area schools and would be fair to all affected students. Under this alternative:
1. one of the targeted apartment complexes (approximately 25 students) could go to Jackson
2. one of the targeted apartment complexes (approximately 25 students) could go to Barksdale
3. one of the targeted apartment complexes (approximately 25 students) could go to Haggar
4. one of the targeted apartment complexes (approximately 58-68 students) could go to Brinker
5. The 28 students in the Lakes of Willow Bend could be re-zoned to Centennial
6. Approximately 25 students would stay at Huffman.
Under this alternative proposal, the students and resources are much more evenly divided (although Jackson continues to remain far below capacity so that it can absorb any development that may occur in the next few years):
Projected Enrollment
Enrollment with RMH parents’ proposal modification
Functioning Capacity
After RMH parents’ proposal
Brinker
603
671
748
89.7
Jackson
715
740
Not confirmed (but based on 78.6% capacity is about 900) 910
81.3
Huffman
733
563
606
92.7
RMH
592
617
666
92.6
Centennial
535
563
589
95.6
Barksdale
647
672
718
93.6
Questions to investigate:
1. Out of all the single family and multi-family homes in the Huffman community, how did the district decide on Wimberly, Brazos, Camino Real and Champions apartments as targets for re-zoning? Was the district aware that the Champions apartment complex is Section 8, and was this a factor in determining which student populations would be targeted for re-zoning, considering there are many other apartments in that same area? Is PISD attempting to do some social engineering with this re-zoning proposal?
2. Do any of the district staff that worked on the re-zoning proposal or influenced the re-zoning proposal live in any of the school communities that will be impacted by the proposal? If so, who and where do they live? Who provided input on the re-zoning proposal? Will PISD Board President Tammy Richard's home in the Lakes of Willow Bend community increase in value when it is re-zoned from the Huffman community to the Centennial community, an Exemplary school community without any multi-family homes?
3. Why didn't the district involve the RMH community in the dialogue on the re-zoning proposal? Did the district involve the Brinker community in the dialogue on the re-zoning proposal? Did the district involve any of the parents in the targeted apartment complexes in the dialogue? What parent groups were allowed to lobby and influence the district and school board on this issue? Just the Huffman parents?
4. Will the district release the functional capacity and program capacity projections for Barksdale, which is unexplainably not participating in the Huffman relief effort? David Stolle told us in an email that Barksdale is at 90.1% functioning capacity, but Carolyn Moebius says the school is at 97.7% functional capacity. What number is correct? Can the district disclose the source of this data? How are those numbers determined? Are they based on square footage?
5. Why is Barksdale not part of this solution when it's closer to Huffman than Brinker? Why not move the Wimberly, Brazos and Camino Real to Barksdale? Barksdale is at 90.1% of its functioning capacity. From a geographical perspective, doesn't it make more sense to have the students in these complexes attend Barksdale instead of driving all the way to Brinker (passing Barksdale, Huffman and Centennial along the way)?
6. It appears unnecessary now, and for the near future, that the Huffman school community needs to move so many students out of the school zone. Why does Huffman need to reduce its % functional capacity down to 92% now and raise Haggar's % functional capacity up to almost 100%?
o Why is the district recommending to move the Champions apartment complex this year? Huffman will drop to 104% of its functional capacity if the proposed modifications are implemented with the apartments West of the Tollway and the community north of Park. Why is the district in a rush to re-zone Champions now to Haggar if it will result in pushing Haggar to close to 100% of its functional capacity?
o Seeing that there are many other apartment complexes located around Champions, wouldn't it make more sense to identify another complex with 20-30 students to move to Haggar, increasing Haggar's percentage functional capacity over its current level of 88.9% but not moving it over 100%? Doesn't this make more sense than uprooting 70 students from Champions to Haggar?
7. The district is citing land zoned for multi-family developments as an indicator that certain elementary schools are going to grow and need to stay at lower percentage functional capacities. Will the district share this data on planned multi-family developments? How many multi-family developments have actually been approved in the Huffman community?
o It's important to note that there is a big difference between having property zoned for multi-family development and approved construction projects on that property. Many developers are having a hard time getting financing, and apartments typically take about 4 years to be developed (1 year to secure approval, two years to build, and then another year to lease). Even if a developer is given approval to develop near Huffman, the complex is still at least year 4 years away.
8. PISD board says it's trying to keep communities together and that the current re-zoning proposal is based on "keeping communities together" and existing geographical boundaries.
o The targeted students living in the apartment complexes west of the Tollway are closer to the Barksdale community, but are being moved to the Brinker community. How is this keeping the apartment communities together with their neighbors that attend Barksdale?
o The justification of keeping the apartment complexes West of the Tollway together to foster a stronger sense of community falls flat when you consider the high turnover in the apartments. That justification clearly does not outweigh the benefits to each student's welfare and the increased educational opportunities that results from attending a school that is not overcrowded or whose resources are not heavily strained.
o The targeted students at the Champions complex view Huffman as their school community. Why have they been targeted to move out of the Huffman school zone? If you care about a marginalized group then why are you going to move them from their existing school community?
o Families living in the Champions complex have older children going to Renner for middle school, and will now have younger children re-zoned to attend Frankford middle school - how is that good for these families?
9. How did PISD choose to subtract ~170 kids from Huffman? Why not 100?
o If Huffman moves the 28 students "North of Park" (in the Lakes of Willow Bends community) to Centennial, and the students in the apartment complexes west of the Tollway to Brinker, it drops to 104% of its functional capacity.
o Why does it have to move the 69 targeted students in the Champions apartments when they have access to better resources at Huffman and view Huffman as their school community?
o Why is a high functioning capacity (104%) not acceptable for Huffman, but it's acceptable for RMH to start off the 2012-13 school year at close to 100% of its functional capacity?
o There is an argument that Huffman cannot keep the Champions apartment complex because they anticipate a multi-family development being constructed in the school community at some point in the near future. Is there really a development being planned or is there just property that is zoned for multi-family development?
10. What is the plan for addressing overcrowding long-term?