District sets parent redistricting meeting

Sean McDaniel

By Traci Chapman

Parents will have a chance to weigh in on Mustang School District’s upcoming redistricting plan at a special Thursday meeting.

Set from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the meeting will be held in Mustang High School Commons and is geared toward parents of elementary schoolchildren, said Shannon Rigsby, district public information officer. Redistricting efforts come as a new school is nearing completion and the district last fall passed 10,000 in enrollment. Mustang’s seventh elementary school is set to open in time for the 2014-2015 school year, officials said.

The district is growing rapidly, by about 300 students each school year, officials said. That growth is concentrated on the northern end of the district, with new subdivisions cropping up in the area all the time, they said.

“This redistricting will impact every school except the high school and pre-K,” School Board President Chad Fulton said. “It’s important that parents and students know what’s going on and what the outcome is expected to be.”

Deputy Superintendent Charles Bradley has spearheaded work on the redistricting plan, studying available options to shift students from schools that have large class sizes.

“We are looking at what options are available to reduce the number of students in high growth areas,” Bradley told Mustang school board members in December.

The district looks at building permits and enrollment at each site to determine where growth might be seen, Bradley said. A steering committee has been working to address the issue and come up with ideas for redistricting; the next step will move to an advisory board made up of members of the community, parents and district representatives, he said.

“Parents will have an opportunity to submit their concerns and thoughts on the proposed plan in writing,” Rigsby said Tuesday. “The comments will be disseminated to the advisory committee.”

Anyone who cannot attend the March 7 meeting may submit comments to the district via email at boundary@mustangps.org.

The process began with a small committee studying the issue and parents’ comments will be submitted to a larger group, which comprises district representatives, parents and community members. The committee is tasked with developing a final plan for consideration.

Board members hope to vote on the issue during their March meeting, set for March 10.

The last time Mustang redrew site boundaries was in 2007, when Centennial Elementary was built. Bailey said the district had learned some things during that process and hoped to avoid issues that came up at that time. The district also allocated $800,000 for acquisition of “land for the construction of future schools and/or district facilities in the south and central areas of the district” in the $7 million bond issue passed by voters Feb. 11. Officials have not yet released any plans concerning specific plans for spending those funds.