Oppose rezoning of high school change for communities SW of Lebanon and Teel
Oppose rezoning of high school change for communities SW of Lebanon and Teel
FISD's mission is to know every student by name and need.
Rezoning Goals and Considerations
• Effective utilization of space - efficient space utilization for
effective instructional programs
• Stability of students - minimize the number of students changing school
• Neighborhood schools - proximity of students to assigned campus
• Maintaining diversity - heterogeneous campus enrollments, when practical
• Promoting unity - community, promote unity throughout district
As neighborhood members of the southwestern part of Frisco (planning units 38E, 38F, 38D & 38M), we are writing to express our strong opposition to the Oct 12, 2021, proposed 2022-2023 school attendance zones. The proposal is defeating the mission of FISD. We are aware that rezoning is part of a growing community, however the current FISD proposal would have significant negative effects on more children and families than necessary. Within our letter we will be presenting you with very strong arguments regarding different concerns with the proposed change –
- The involvement of Frisco High School and the movement of unnecessary students
- Equal Educational Opportunities Act
- The additional mileage, money, commuting hours
- The additional bus routes and travel time, city budget cost, academic challenge
- The effects to athletics, band, clubs, special needs, removal of walk/bike option, safety concerns, mental health
- New school zoning proposals
The current proposal includes movement with Frisco High School. Based on the most recent information we have received, from both the 2021 PASA report & the 2021 Reedy High School (only) PASA numbers, there is no reason for them to be included, as they do not have a numbers problem. We were very disheartened to note that commute distance had no role at all in the reports from PASA or the rezoning planning which is a departure from the previous rezoning efforts. Involving Frisco High School impacts more families than needed and creates long travel for most in the southwest area of Frisco. In looking at the proposed zoning, FISD would be shifting over 750+ students throughout 12 different planning units. In alterative zoning proposals presented in this packet, FISD would move 3-4 planning units while only shifting 350-450 students. These options would solve the current issue of overflow at Reedy High School as well as the declining numbers at Wakeland High School, impacting far less students and families. There is also a concern that the southwest neighborhoods of Frisco, if moved to Frisco High School would need to be moved back to Reedy High School soon due to growth at Frisco High School. This would result in further learning disruption and student discomfort. There is a more detailed look into the suggested proposals further in this opposition packet.
Another opposing component in the current proposal is the movement of students located within the attendance zone of Hosp Elementary. Hosp Elementary has over 70% non-white students. In doing this proposed movement, FISD will remove a highly diverse community that would feed into Reedy High School which is currently over 50% non-white. By removing units 38E, 38F, 38D & 38M, Reedy High School's percentage of white students will increase substantially. At the same time Frisco High School’s non-white percentage (currently over 58%) will increase with the addition of the proposed portion of the Hosp community. This movement starts to be very concerning as it could challenge Equal Educational Opportunities Act Section 1703. ‘No state shall deny equal educational opportunity to an individual on account of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, by… the assignment by an educational agency of a student to a school, other than the one closest to his or her place of residence within the school district in which he or she resides, if the assignment results in a greater degree of segregation of students on the basis of race, color, sex, or national origin…’ It is understood that it is legal for the district to not maintain a balance based on race, color, sex, or national origin if minority students are not being assigned to schools that are further from their home. The movement of the HOSP Elementary students begins to be very concerning as it challenges the Equal Educational Opportunities Act Section 1703.
Forcing the southwest side of Frisco to attend a school that is between 4.5 to 6 miles away from all proposed neighborhoods creates a logistical nightmare for all of those involved. Disregarding the fact that FISD is asking parents to drive past Reedy High School on the way to Frisco High School, FISD is asking parents to extend the mileage and commuter time even further when adding in extra school zones and traffic for both the morning and afternoon commutes. This greatly affects working parents and students commuting hours. Parents are also being asked to absorb additional travel costs with the extended commute. At the current IRS standard mileage rate of $0.56 per mile this equates to a minimum additional cost of $605 to parents annually per student that will be driven to a school 4.5 to 6 miles away. The proposed zoning changes would add an additional 1.5 million student bus commuting hours and 133,000 personal commuting hours of productivity loss over a 4-year period, leaving students less time to focus on schoolwork and additional school activities. Currently, there is a city planned roadway construction to widen Lebanon Rd., which will further increase commuting hours and add to the logistical nightmare.
When discussing bus options, FISD is very much aware of the current commuting struggles within the bus routes. Per Farah Williams, the Transportation Coordinator for FISD, this zone change would require FISD to add 4-5 additional buses while asking the students to ride 45 minutes each way, not accounting for stops and traffic. This would by far be the longest bus route at a minimum of 60 minutes each way as opposed to the current time of 25 minutes each way. With this proposed change, travel is way beyond the normal allocated time. From a budget standpoint, FISD is reimbursed $1.25 per mile based on the State of Texas allotment formula. In looking at previous data from 2017, it cost FISD $5.70 per mile and extending routes will increase this cost and taxpayer loss. When looking at the academic factor to the students, it is concerning that students will not be able to utilize the bus system when it comes to early morning or after school tutoring unless parents can take them. This dominos into issues for the working parents in our community. FISD prides itself on allowing students to connect with teachers when struggling in a classroom per their small school mission, however with this plan and the inability to walk/bike due to distance, this option is taken away.
The impact is also magnified for those students in the morning and afternoon when it comes to athletics, band, clubs, and those with special needs. The logistics FISD is asking parents to agree with could have much higher impact for families not only economically, but emotionally as their extra-curricular activities become halted. By sending these students to Frisco High School, you completely remove the option for students to walk or ride their bikes. Hosp Elementary to Frisco High School would take 1 ½ hours walking while biking would take 40 minutes with no traffic. This is not an acceptable commuting option given the extended time and safety concerns with the heavy traffic, limited sidewalks, and no crossing guard support for children. It has been suggested that students in the southwest area do not walk to and from Reedy High School. That information is inaccurate. Students in the southwest area walk every day to and from Reedy High School at all hours of the day. Not only are the logistics, cost, and safety not practical there is significant concern regarding teenagers’ mental well-being. In a study to note - Carole Turley Voulgaris, Michael J. Smart, and Brian D. Taylor. 2019. “Tired of Commuting? Relationships among Journeys to School, Sleep, and Exercise among American Teenagers.” Journal of Planning Education and Research, 39, 2, Pp. 142-154.), shows how a longer commute negatively effects a child’s well-being. The authors note that, “The extra time spent commuting must come from somewhere, and unfortunately it appears that the activities that students are most likely to sacrifice are precisely those with important consequences for their physical health: exercise and sleep.” Bloomberg published an article on the results of this study (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-07/how-distance-to-school-affects-student-well-being which states that “a huge slew of research shows the devastating effects of limited sleep and exercise on teenagers’ physical and mental health.” This rezoning proposal slaps a 2-hour daily handicap to these students compared to the students going to Reedy High School. The time wasted on a commute to the other side of town when there is a neighboring high school just 1.5 miles down the road does not make sense.
Attached are some different zoning options for Board of Trustee review, based on the only numbers provided by FISD, both the 2020 PASA report & the 2021 Reedy High School (only) PASA report. This alternative option would allow for no movement of Frisco High School and would only affect the schools that currently have issues. The school district has repeatedly made the point that Reedy High School has an overflow issue and Wakeland High School is declining in numbers. That suggested new options show ways to fix that problem. FISD has also stated that they want to make these changes with as little impact as possible to families and students. These alternatives suggestion would alleviate those concerns.
It is understood that rezoning has a huge impact on any area involved. However, no other area can argue that they would have to drive or utilize the school bus service between 4.5 and 6 miles to get to school. FISD is only asking the southwest side of Frisco to do that. In reviewing neighborhood units of the city, it has been confirmed that units 45G and 45F on the west side of Wakeland are 0.7 miles closer to Frisco High School than the Hosp Elementary community. These 2 units are directly across from Wakeland High School. Anyone looking at this map would certainly agree it would be ridiculous to ask this group to move to Frisco High School as they would be passing Wakeland High School in their routes. The same should be said for the Hosp Elementary community who are being asked to travel an even further distance. The hope is that sufficient information provided in this packet will help make the zoning change become much more effective for children, families, and the community.
We invite you to work through this with us. As a group, our children will always be our biggest concern and our number one priority. As stated on the FISD website, ‘A commitment to the whole child, including social, emotional, physical and academic support for students.’ Let’s keep it this way.
The 2022-2023 school zoning proposal must be reconsidered. Units 38D, 38E, 38F & 38M strongly oppose and request the Board to reject the proposal as it stands today and bring commute and distance into the revised proposal as an important consideration.
Neighborhood residences of units 38D, 38E, 38F & 38M