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HPISD Elementary School Rezoning Process

Highland Park ISD to begin transparent process for drawing new elementary school attendance boundaries
While Highland Park ISD is still more than a year away from operating five elementary schools for the first time in its history, the district is taking initial steps to re-draw its boundaries. The first step is seeking volunteers to serve on a committee to assist with the process and eventually recommend new boundaries to the HPISD Board of Trustees. The district is creating a Boundary Rezoning Committee to include parents representing each elementary school, as well as community members and former trustees. The committee will work throughout the spring and early fall to recommend five elementary school boundaries, up from the existing four, to the full Board by October 2019. The new elementary school boundaries will go into effect in August 2020.

From February 1-18, 2019, the district will accept online applications from individuals interested in volunteering to serve as representatives for each of the elementary schools on the Boundary Rezoning Committee. In addition to the eight parents who will be selected to represent the district's four existing elementary schools, the committee will include:
  • Three Current trustees - Paul Rowsey, Stacy Kelly and Tom Sharpe
  • Two former trustees - selected by trustees
  • Two community members - selected by trustees
  • Three HPISD administrators, Superintendent Dr. Tom Trigg, Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Mike White and Chief of Staff Jon Dahlander will serve as ex-officio members.
A board subcommittee made up of Trustees Rowsey, Kelly and Sharpe, as well as district administrators, has been working for the last several months to begin the planning for the new attendance boundary process. Their work focused solely on creating the process that will be used. Understanding that there will be significant interest from the community about where the lines are eventually drawn, the trustees have committed to having a process that is as transparent as possible.

The district is seeking individuals to serve on the Boundary Rezoning Committee who have a district-wide perspective and are analytical, data-oriented, level-headed and holistic. To avoid any potential conflicts of interest, only parents whose youngest child is currently in the second grade or older will be considered, since they will no longer be impacted by changes in district-wide elementary school boundaries. During the 2020-21 school year, fourth-grade students will be given the option of attending their current school or attending the new school to which they will be assigned as the result of the new school boundaries. Following the February 18 deadline to receive applications, elementary campus teams consisting of each principal, PTA president, PTA president-elect and Dads Club president will review and recommend no more than four applicants from each school to serve on the committee. Eventually, two parents from each elementary school will be selected by trustees.

The committee will begin its work in April and will allow the public to observe all of its meetings. The district will provide regular updates on the committee's work and post its minutes online. In addition, throughout the process, community members will have the opportunity to provide input and feedback through an online form. The committee's charge will be to develop a comprehensive, district-wide boundary plan for five elementary schools (Armstrong, Bradfield, Hyer, University Park and the newest elementary school located at 8385 Durham) to recommend to the Board of Trustees for its consideration in October 2019.

"This is the first time since Hyer opened in 1948 that HPISD has had such an extensive undertaking, and we do not expect it to be easy," Rowsey said. "It is important for everyone to know that there are no preconceived ideas at this point on where these new boundary lines will be drawn but that we have developed a fair and open process to complete that task."
HPISD Board passes student transfer policy that allows 3rd-grade students to remain in current school for 4th grade when new boundary lines are drawn
In preparation for drawing new attendance boundaries to include the district's new (fifth) elementary school, the Board of Trustees passed changes to its student transfer policy at its Jan. 15 meeting. The policy revisions were introduced during the December board meeting to give parents and the public a month to review it before a vote was taken. The highlight of the policy change allows students who are entering fourth grade during the 2020-21 school year (current second-grade students) to attend either 
  • the elementary school they attended during third grade, or 
  • the elementary school to which they will be assigned in 2020-21

As an example, students who attend Hyer during 2019-20 as third-graders would have the option of attending either Hyer on Caruth as fourth-grade students in 2020-21 or the school to which they are assigned with their neighbors as the result of new attendance boundaries. The policy change is only for the 2020-21 school year and the exception for fourth-grade students does not extend to their siblings. This means that when new school boundary lines are drawn, students in grades K-3 will attend the school to which they are assigned, with a few exceptions as specified in the policy.

Timeline for Parent Representative Selection 
  • February 1, 2019:  Online application for parents opens
  • February 18, 2019, at 8 a.m.: Deadline for online application 
  • February 18 - March 1, 2019: Campus teams (principal, PTA president, PTA president-elect and Dads Club president) review and recommend 4 parents from the campus-level applications
  • March 1, 2019: Campus teams submit the recommendation of 4 parent names to the Boundary Process Committee
  • March 5, 2019: Boundary Process Committee reviews and selects 2 parent representatives from each campus for the Boundary Rezoning Committee 
  • Before Spring Break: All applicants will be notified
Committee Charge
Develop a comprehensive, district-wide boundary plan to present to the Board of Trustees for its consideration. 
Note: The goal is to present one plan to the Board of Trustees; however, if the committee is not able to come to a consensus on one plan, the committee may consider sending two plan options to the Board. 
Meeting Schedule: What happens next?
  • Boundary Rezoning Committee work will begin in April 2019 with a conclusion reached by October 2019. 
  • The target date for presenting to the Board of Trustees is October 2019.
2018-19 Attendance Zone Map