San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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October 22nd, 2008
Attendance Zone Committee presents recommendations to board, district staff, and community & transition plans

After months of deliberation and discussions, the San Marcos CISD Attendance Zone Committee made its recommendation of realigned campus attendance zones for the 2009-2010 school year to the Board of Trustees on Monday night, October 20. Committee Chair Mike Abild, SMCISD Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance, presented the plans on behalf of the committee, along with professional demographers Larry Blair and Brent Alexander of School District Strategies.Next comes a series of meetings to present the recommendation to district staff and the community. SMCISD personnel are invited to two sessions this week at which time they can present questions and comments as to how the realignment will affect them as employees. Superintendent Dr. Patty Shafer explained that the staff of four elementary schools will be shared to accommodate six schools: Bowie, Crockett, De Zavala, Travis, Hernandez, and Elementary #6 which is yet to be named. However, most affected will be the staff of the current Hernandez Intermediate School.

“Hernandez Intermediate currently has 5th and 6th graders. All of the 5th grade students will go the elementary schools within their attendance zone, and the 6th grade students will go to either Miller or Goodnight Middle Schools. Therefore, only some of the Hernandez teachers will remain on that campus,” Shafer said.

Also under consideration is the move of the district’s Pre-Kindergarten program from the current Bonham location to a wing at the Hernandez campus. “There is more than enough room for the Bonham staff and students to relocate to a newer and safer facility at Hernandez,” said Abild at the Monday night meeting.

Community Forums will be held at 6 pm on two evenings at which time the public will have an opportunity for input:
• November 3 at Travis Elementary and
• November 10 at Bowie Elementary.
School Board members will be on hand for the Community Forums.

On November 4, the fall Soup with the Supt event will be held at the De Zavala Elementary Library from 11:30 am to 1 pm to accommodate parents who can meet during their lunch hours. Dr. Shafer will discuss the proposed attendance zones and take questions. Lunch is provided: RSVP to 393-6930 or 393-6768 for the luncheon.

Thirty-eight committee members representing a cross section of the San Marcos community comprised the committee. This included three school board members-Jesse Ponce, Kathy Hansen, and Margie Villalpando-in addition to Abild, Shafer, and the principals of the elementary schools.

The committee’s mission was to develop and present attendance zones for the six elementary schools and two middle schools that will be in operation for the 2009-2010 school year. The committee established priorities for consideration that included balanced student counts and socio-economic characteristics, close proximity of campuses to neighborhoods, safe walking and bus routes, minimal travel time and distance, future growth, and many others.

Two members of the Attendance Zone Committee, Genie Rolfe and Grace Mueller, addressed the board prior to the presentation of the plan. Both are SMCISD teachers and both are active representatives of teacher organizations. They also agreed on a message: the committee gave their fullest efforts to “what is best for the children” of the San Marcos community.

Abild added that the committee came up with some plans for smooth transitions, and the district will be considering others throughout the spring of 2009. Some of the recommendations include:

  • Current 3rd, 4th, and 7th graders will have an opportunity to remain at their current schools, provided that their families make application to do so, that school capacity remains no more than 90%, and that families are willing and able to provide their own transportation.

Maps of the proposed zones are available for viewing on the district web site at www.smcisd.net and will soon be on display at the San Marcos CISD schools.

by Iris Campbell
San Marcos CISD

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