Allen ISD

Allen ISD Parents Frustrated Over Proposal to Ease Overcrowding by Shutting Schools

District says a final vote may happen in November

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Parents in the Allen Independent School District planned to speak out during a Monday night school board meeting over a proposal to ease overcrowding in schools.

Parents of one eastside neighborhood said they feel unfairly targeted by the plan.

"We very specifically moved to this school district two years ago because of this school," said Michelle Boren, whose fourth-grade child attends George J. Anderson Elementary School.

She's among the parents who said they fear they'll lose their neighborhood school where their kids can walk or bike, along with smaller classes.

While the issue is not on Monday night's school board meeting agenda, parents planned to address their concerns during the meeting’s public comment period.

"I definitely feel blindsided about our specific school," said Holly Barnard, a clinical child psychologist and Anderson parent who says she worries most about the students being shuffled around. "Our kids have been through so much in the past few years. And now in the first year that they’re back in school in a normal capacity, we’re asking them to lose their school and that’s hard."

Parents said they knew Allen ISD had been mulling plans to address overcrowding on the city's growing west side, but they said they had no idea their east side neighborhood school would be singled out.

"There is a serious concern that the west side is where the priority is, and that west side problems are being addressed and solved at the expense of east side values and priorities," said Barnard.

Simply put: There are more elementary school students west of U.S. 75, but more schools for them on the east side. It also costs more to run schools that are not at capacity.

A plan to ease overcrowding in the Allen ISD has some parents speaking out to school leaders.

So, the district and a 70-person committee have set sights on Anderson Elementary School. The district said it is considering repurposing that school campus into an early childhood campus for the next school year and sending students to Olson Elementary, two miles away.

"For the kids to get to that school from our neighborhood, they're going to have to cross two different dangerous intersections," said Mike Farley, whose kindergartener attends Anderson.

The district said fewer students would be displaced overall since Anderson has some of the lowest enrollment numbers.

Allen ISD is also considering closing Rountree Elementary and using it for non-instructional programming in the future.

Parents said answers have been hard to come by.

"We feel as parents, we're doing the legwork on this, and they won't talk to us or involve us in this process," Farley said.

"If they're making these decisions, please tell us. Tell us how you came to these conclusions," said Boren.

A district spokesman said that before a final proposal is chosen, the district will have two public meetings -- the first on Oct. 7. A final vote may happen in November.

When asked why the district does not build additional schools on the city’s west side, the district’s spokesman said it would "not address the financial efficiency questions that are outlined in the letter. The issue is not just about overcrowded schools on the west side of the district, it’s also about declining enrollment schools on the east side of the district."

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