Northwest ISD to wait on change

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, March 10, 2018
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Northwest ISD will wait until after spring break to determine the attendance zone boundary between Chisholm Trail and Adams middle schools.

On the advice of Superintendent Ryder Warren, Northwest ISD trustees Wednesday elected to come back on March 19 to address the boundary. The recommendation was accompanied by more feedback from parents and community members on the proposed boundary at the Wise-Tarrant county line.

The board did approve the attendance zones for the 2018-19 school year for elementary schools – Lizzie Curtis, Nance, Haslet, Peterson, Granger, Hughes, Thompson, Sendera Ranch, Hatfield and Love.

After a nearly two-hour presentation on Monday during a town hall meeting at Chisholm Trail Middle School, Warren told the board he’d received more feedback leading up to Wednesday’s meeting and wanted a chance to assemble the information for the board.

“I have not had time yet where I feel comfortable assimilating all that to make a recommendation on Chisholm Trail,” Warren said. “I think the people that attended the Chisholm Trail meeting would expect me to do my due diligence and to really listen to them. It could very well change the recommendation or it could not change it a bit.”

At the town hall meeting, several parents of current Chisholm Trail students expressed concerns with the proposed changes that would cut enrollment for the sixth- through eighth-grade campus to 492 students from a projected 1,097. Concerns included staffing, athletics, programs offered and additional funding.

Wednesday, several parents of students in the Vista Ranch neighborhood, which is southwest of U.S. 81/287 and Farm Road 718, spoke in favor of the recommended changes that would put them in the attendance zone for Adams Middle School that will open in the fall. The area is also in the Eaton High School zone.

“I have and presented to the board signatures from 90 people representing 65 of the families in Vista Ranch that feel strongly that our kids should be able to attend Adams,” said Jill Kolb. “You’ll find signatures of grandparents, empty nesters and signatures of current NISD kids.”

Kolb added that leaving the area of Chisholm Trail would cause issues for approximately 60 students having to go to a different middle school from their friends in elementary and then trying to rejoin them in high school at Eaton.

“We know what it will do, and why would we add that extra stress to these children during their formative high school and middle school years?” Kolb asked. “You just stated the committee did an amazing job setting the boundaries for the elementary schools. Why isn’t the same committee recommendation for the middle schools just as valid?”

Newark City Administrator Diane Rasor spoke on behalf of the city and presented a letter to the board from Mayor Gary Van Wagner, expressing concerns about the drastic drop in enrollment at Chisholm Trail. Both stated the city could see a drop in sales tax revenue with less traffic headed through town to the Rhome campus.

“It will have an impact on our town,” Rasor said. “I’d like time to research how it will impact Newark and the Chisholm Trail community.”

Before hearing from several speakers on the proposed boundary, School Board President Mark Schluter said he did want the district to look at the boundary committee and how it is constituted.

“We need to look at how that is organized and make sure we have every campus, elementary, middle school and high school, represented with parents,” Schluter said.

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