Sunday, January 16, 2022

Argyle ISD tables rezoning decision

In a special meeting Tuesday night, the Argyle ISD Board of Trustees postponed its decision about new elementary school zoning districts centered around its third elementary school, which will open next year.

The future school, which is currently being referred to as simply Elementary School No. 3, will be located in Canyon Falls. The district broke ground on it in June, and it is scheduled to open for the 2022-23 school year. Currently, Argyle ISD elementary students who live in Harvest and Canyon Falls attend Argyle West Elementary, and the rest of Argyle ISD elementary students go to Hilltop Elementary.

The new school is needed to address current and future growth in residential development within the district boundaries, particularly west of I-35W. The district expects to need to build two more elementary schools within the next five years just to keep up with the expected growth, and two of the district’s next three schools (not counting the one under construction in Canyon Falls) are expected to be built west of I-35W.

Trustee Brad Lowry said the decision is both difficult and important because the board members “want to displace the fewest number of kids now, and we want to displace the fewest number of kids in the future,” and they want to minimize the number of times that they’ll need to rezone in the near future.

The board was presented with three different school zoning map options, and the third option is expected to be the one that would need the least amount of zoning changes in the near future. In each map, the Ridge subdivision (located west of I-35W, between Harvest and Robson Ranch) would be zoned into a different elementary school. The Ridge is expected to be the one area that will experience the most change in rezoning decisions, because it is currently smaller than Harvest but is going to experience a lot of future growth. There are 23 elementary students who live in The Ridge currently, and more than 80 projected next year.

Several residents of The Ridge spoke during the public comment section of the meeting, asking the board to choose Plan 2, which would keep The Ridge in Argyle West Elementary’s zone, which is within walking distance. Plan 1 would put The Ridge students at Hilltop Elementary, which is over 3 miles away, and Plan 3 would zone The Ridge for the Canyon Falls school, which is about 9 miles away. Parents in The Ridge asked the board to not displace their kids from their friends, and they were particularly opposed to Plan 3 because it would take much longer to get to the Canyon Falls school. Some asked the board to consider grandfathering in their kids, an exception to allow their kids to continue attending Argyle West even if their neighborhood gets zoned for another school.

Parents from other parts of the district asked the board to consider a zoning map that would reduce the number of parents and buses that would need to cross the train tracks, because of the traffic issues caused by the trains and buses. Many parents from around the district spoke in favor of using portables as a temporary solution to overcrowding, instead of rezoning.

“Because of the public comments,” the board went back into executive session and did not take any action that night.

Elementary rezoning will be included on the Dec. 13 agenda at the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees as a discussion/action item.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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