At an evening work session held by the Irving Independent School District (ISD) Board of Trustees, a significant decision was reached as they voted to proceed with the exploration of attendance boundary changes and the potential closure of schools. This move comes after a motion was made during the September 18th, 2023 Board of Trustees meeting to investigate adjustments to attendance boundaries at the elementary and middle school levels.
The motion was approved by the Board of Trustees, leading the district to initiate the process of presenting this information to the community and stakeholders. The proposed changes are part of a larger effort to address declining student enrollment and adapt to changing demographics.
The exploration of boundary changes will include a series of public hearings, the presentation of proposed changes to the Board as a discussion item, and finally, the consideration of proposed boundary adjustments as an action item at the December 2023 Board meeting.
The district's presentation included background information on past boundary adjustments, such as changes made in 2011, when 11 elementary schools were affected due to enrollment considerations and the opening of Lady Bird Johnson Middle School. These changes were driven by the challenge of creating a district-wide feeder pattern given the locations and capacities of the campuses.
The factors being considered by the administration and the board in determining boundary adjustments include enrollment balance, financial impact and responsibility, communities and feeder patterns, balance of over and under capacity, special program placement, and enrollment.
At the elementary school level, potential attendance boundary adjustments could impact Britain, Elliott, Stipes, Brown, Townsell, Johnston, Lively, Schulze, and Townley schools. At the middle school level, Crockett, de Zavala, Johnson, Lamar, and Bowie middle schools could be affected.
One of the primary issues facing the school district is declining student enrollment, influenced by demographic shifts, economic factors, migration patterns, and increased competition from alternative education options. Historical and future enrollment projections reveal that the Nimitz feeder is expected to experience a severe decline in the next five years, while the MacArthur and Irving feeders show more stability.
The decline in enrollment has significant implications for the district, necessitating long-term planning for facility usage, consolidation, and adaptation to changing demographics. This challenge is not unique to Irving ISD but is a concern shared by other school districts in Texas, such as San Antonio ISD, Plano ISD, and Fort Worth ISD, all taking steps to address declining enrollment.
The proposal to change school boundaries aims to address underutilization, balance enrollment, and align feeder patterns, ultimately strengthening the district's ability to provide academic program continuity, build community, and proactively anticipate future needs. School consolidation is seen as a way to improve resource allocation, enhance educational equality, enhance infrastructure, increase educational opportunities, improve support services, enhance community resources, and achieve fiscal sustainability.
School Closure Proposal
The proposed details include the closure of Elliott and Britain Elementary Schools, with students being rezoned into other nearby elementary schools. Middle school boundary changes will also be made for high school feeder pattern alignment. De Zavala Middle School is proposed as a new "School of Opportunity" with a full-choice program.
Resident Feedback and Town Hall Meetings
Additionally, several Town Hall Meetings have been scheduled to gather input from the community:
- November 6th, 2023 at De Zavala Middle, 6pm-7:30pm
- November 14th, 2023 at Britain Elementary, 6pm-7:30pm
- November 15th, 2023 at Elliott Elementary, 6pm-7:30pm
The district's demographer will present information regarding these meetings and the final boundary proposals to the Board of Trustees for approval in December 2023.