Parents upset over proposed rezoning of schools

January 13, 2010 5:49:07 PM PST
A plan to re-zone part of a local school district isn't sitting well with parents. Cy-Fair ISD is considering reshuffling zoning to accommodate for two elementary schools planned for the district. They will be Rennell and Emery elementary schools in northwest Harris County. The board will face tough criticisms and tough decisions Thursday night. But the growth in population mean in a growth in wealth. The school board is facing a debilitating budget shortfall.

For parent Stephanie Peters, the issue is clear.

"Elementary school is where kids get their first foundation and their first taste of public school," she said. "If we're rezoned again, it will be the third time in four years. How can anybody expect children to get a good foundation in elementary school if they have to keep moving?"

She joins a group of other parents who don't want their children to change schools. They live in a newly built subdivision called Westgate, part of a growing population of northwest Harris County inside the Cy-Fair school district.

New neighbors mean new schools. It also means a reshuffling of school zoning boundaries, meaning these parents face the possibility of moving their kids from Copeland Elementary to nearby Postma Elementary.

Parent Kevin McKinney said, "But that school's going to become very overcrowded in the next few years. We were just rezoned from Holmsley Elementary two years ago, and we just feel that the students here deserve a little more stability."

Despite the population growth, Cy-Fair ISD faces a debilitating budget shortfall. Cy-Fair has 104,000 students and is the third largest district in the state. Yet they receive the least amount of state funding per student of other surrounding districts, resulting in harsh decisions.

"We will have to cut $10 million from next year's budget," explained Cy-Fair ISD spokesperson Kelli Durham. "Over the last several years, we've cut a total of $60 million from the budget. It's all due to inequitable funding at the state level."

How they are to cut the $10 million is yet to be determined. The school board is expected to get recommendations starting next month. As for the rezoning, the school board is expected to discuss it Thursday night at the administration offices and vote on the issue next Tuesday.