UPDATE

Chisholm Trail boundary remains unsettled


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The dividing line for the attendance zones between Northwest ISD’s Adams and Chisholm Trail middle schools remains unsettled.
After nearly an hour-long discussion centered on the impact on Chisholm Trail by the changes Monday, Northwest ISD trustees split 3-3 and failed to approved the recommended attendance zones. Trustees followed with a 4-2 vote to delay the boundary changes for the two middle schools and several elementary schools until their next meeting March 19.
With Adams opening in the fall, the recommended boundary change for Chisholm Trail has the dividing line at the Wise-Tarrant county line. The change would cut the enrollment at the Rhome campus from a projected 1,097 students to 492.
At the end of the meeting, Northwest ISD Superintendent Ryder Warren asked for a discussion to get direction and called for the board to reconvene next week to revisit the boundaries.
“I don’t think we can wait three weeks for this decision. That puts us behind from the personnel standpoint and getting the very best people moved around in our school district and getting the best people into our district,” Warren said. “I’d recommend we call a meeting next week and we get into this again. Between now and then I will blank out my calendar, and I will do everything you need me to do to make this decision right.”
Warren added that he stood behind the recommendation of boundary committee, which included parents impacted by the changes.
“You need to understand this, I’m not going override the committee on the work they did,” Warren said. “No. 1, I trust the committee we put together and trust the decisions that were made. No. 2, I will not override the committee in putting children on buses for that long. That’s the only way to solve this is to spread that area out and put kids on buses to Chisholm because there’s no more kids in that area.”
Assistant Superintendent for Facilities Tim McClure in presenting in the boundary recommendations said about 85 percent of the population impacted are around Adams Middle School and points south.
“I’ve been tasked with this since Day 1 that I walked in the door by [former superintendent] Dr. [Karen] Rue. I’ve been working on Chisholm scenarios since Day 1 and it is a geographic problem,” McClure said. “I can not stress it enough. I’m a parent of two Chisholm kids…I don’t know a way without relocating a mass portion of our populace that doesn’t make sense to fix that until we get more development out there.”
Amanda Merritt, who lives in Aurora Vista, addressed the board with concerns about the boundary changes and the impact on the school, pointing out an increase in the percentage of economically disadvantaged students.
“Our communities do a lot for our students,” Merritt said. “Our district relies a lot on PTA donations for improvements to our schools and that’s understandable. As PTAs we raise significantly less because of our parent population than other schools in our district, which leaves us unable to provide the things we would like to provide. We want to open that communication with our leadership. At the end of the day, we trust our district and leadership. We have nothing but positive things to say about Dr. Warren and our board. We do want a little more communication before we can buy into this.”
Trustees Josh Wright, Lillian Rauch and Anne Davis-Simpson voted against the boundary change.
Rauch called for a two-week delay based on feedback she received from members of the community.
Wright said it was the most difficult vote he’s faced as a board member. He said he received eight or nine calls
“My concern is a half-empty school and what will happen with the culture in the community. I don’t feel comfortable with it tonight,” Wright said.
Davis-Simpson expressed concern about the enrollment projection.
“I cannot understand why we can’t balance the numbers,” she said.
Steve Sprowls, who voted for the boundary change, praised the sense of community at Chisholm Trail and wanted to make sure it is protected.
“It’s an awesome culture and I don’t want to impact it. I want it to influence the rest of the district,” Sprowls said.
Before the board’s vote, Warren and Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Rob Thornell said plans are in place for the campus for next year with the smaller enrollment. They told the board no programs would be cut.
“There’s a lot of 500-student middle schools and a lot of successful 500-student middle schools, but a lot of them don’t have the full force of a district the size of NISD behind it,” Warren said. “We’re going to make sure they have the assets in place, both in personnel and programs to give kids every chance to be successful.”
Board President Mark Schluter said the district will be reaching out and addressing concerns about the boundary changes
“There’s so many people in the district that it’s so hard to a pulse from every person,” Schluter said. “Every decision we make is going to be either supported or rejected. We’re not going to make everyone happy. The biggest part of what we do is making sure every voice that wants to give input has the opportunity.”
Schluter admitted options are limited at Chisholm Trail.
“We laid it out today, it’s either bus kids or accept the boundary lines we have,” he said. “One of my concerns when you start looking at other areas and we’re going to divide an area that’s stable, you bring in a whole different group and there’s a whole learning curve all over.”

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