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KISD trustees approve junior high boundary changes

December 21, 2018

The Katy ISD school board knew someone was going to be unhappy with campus boundary changes regardless of what option they picked to help relieve overcrowding in the district’s fast-growing southwest portion.

Trustee Bill Lacy has “played and played” with the numbers but said, “it’s difficult to do without affecting some people.”

“People are going to have to understand, we have to do as trustees what is best for the district overall,” Lacy said.

The voter approved November 2017 election provided for the construction of what is now called Junior High 16, to be located in the Cross Creek Ranch subdivision. The construction project is expected to be completed in August 2019, just in time for the new school year.

“Junior High 16 will open near capacity enrollment and provide population relief to Tays, WoodCreek and Seven Lake junior high schools,” said KISD Chief Operations Officer Lee Crews.

In June, more than 10,000 messages were sent out asking stakeholders - especially parents whose children could be affected - for their pick of three different options to find an equitable balance of the student population in light of the new junior high school and a new elementary school for the district. Officials ultimately received more than 5,000 responses.

Most of the respondents went for Option 3 which KISD officials said would eventually caused WoodCreek Junior High to be over capacity by 2020 while Tays Junior High would receive only limited relief and remain significantly overcapacity.

At their Dec. 17 board meeting, the KISD trustees voted for Option 1 - it would affect students from Seven Lakes, Cinco Ranch, WoodCreek and Tays high to make way for Junior High 16.

KISD trustee Rebecca Fox said boundary struggles are never easy but says they can’t have schools in the district that are underserved.

“We have to fully utilize our resources,” Fox said. “I prefer the balance of Option 1.”

Lacy said it was important for KISD students to be prepared when they finally get to high school and a well-balanced classroom is part of the equation.

“We can effectively have them learn the things they need to have prepared when they enter,” he said. “We’ve got to be able to have our children not be overcrowded, for a safety standard is for nothing else.”

The survey that yielded the results from the public was itself problematic, said KISD trustee George Scott who advocated for including additional outreach efforts - such as focus groups - to properly gauge the opinion of the Katy community.

“The survey to me is fundamentally flawed. It is not statistically reliable,” Scott said. “It allows for the ballot box to be stuffed.”

mike.glenn@chron.com

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