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Old 02-25-2010, 12:06 PM
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
1,104 posts, read 1,735,056 times
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We may be considering a move to Dallas in the coming days for a new job. I continue to dig through all the information and threads on this site. From my research, we'll likely end up living north of Dallas; the job would be in Highland Park.

But one specific question for now: how are schools assigned - do they have neighborhood schools, where the students go to the nearest school? In many parts of North Carolina, they attempt to racially balance the public schools. Our limited experience in NC has left us discouraged with the process of busing/school reassignment/etc. We're white, but we're not looking for a all-white school; I prefer a mix based on the overall population, as long as the school and its students perform well.

For now, I just want to know if we'll be able to know where our daughter (in 3rd grade) will go based on where we buy a home.

Many thanks!
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Old 02-25-2010, 12:28 PM
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Dallas ISD no longer does this - it was released from all court supervision years ago. Dallas has neighborhood schools - but there is the option of transferring if you don't like the school. All the high schools are being redesigned and will offer specialty programs with applications for tranfer to those outside the neighborhood. For instance my alma mater, Woodrow Wilson High in Lakewood, is offering four college prep academies with International Baccalaureate.

I know way up north, McKinney tries to keep its schools somewhat diverse.
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Old 02-25-2010, 12:31 PM
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ISDs in Tx are not required to base their boundaries on a city or county limit--they sort of evolved over time and can be amended wnly through a pretty arduous process (which has occassionally happened)...

some ISDs are located in 2-3-4 town limits and some cities have 2-3 or more ISDs within their limits--
it is not one town or county--1 ISD as it is in FL where my daughter teachers and each county has 1 ISD...

Hurst--where I currently live--has the Birdville ISD and HEB ISD
Euless east of me has Grapevine Colleyville ISD and HEB ISD
Colleyville--north of me--has Grapevine Colleyville ISD, Keller ISD, and HEB ISD in certain areas

WITHIN a school district's boundaries--the catchment areas for each school is set by the district to balance attendance numbers for the representative schools...
in some ISDs those catchment areas can be changed almost yearly if there are changable population numbers or special programs are moved from one school to another--having large number of apartment students can have significant impact on schools in a district and might be one reason to have certain areas zoned from one school to another every few years---
in some districts if there is busy growth with new developments--then the neighborhood school might be overburdened in certain grade levels and extra students (those last enrolling for coming year) might find themselved rolled to the closest school with available space...

MOST mls sites will give the local schools but it is always a good idea to check with them to verify that there are no changes anticipated for the next year

Keller ISD--district northwest of Hurst in Tarrant side--has had large growth and school construction over past 4 -5 yrs--some schools have been realigned 2 or 3 times as new schools have come into play...

in some ISDs with large number of magnet schools which pull from across the district--the parents are still responsible for getting students to school
NO districts that I know of are involved in busing for diversity's sake or law suit compliance...

In TX you must live 2 mi or more from neighborhood school to get free ride with school bus or be a special needs child--who almost always have the option of getting transportation through the district...

because middle schools and high schools draw their student body from larger areas than elementary schools--most elementary students either walk or get dropped by parents
even many middle school students live within the 2 mi limit--but that varies by individual locations within district

you can check out diversity information on most schools around here at Greatschools.net--not sure how accurate some of the reviews are
the district's breakdown of ethnicity is usually on its web site--but not usually on the school's web site
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Old 02-25-2010, 12:31 PM
Location: Dallas, Texas
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Pretty sure it varies by the suburb. I know that McKinney, for instance, does bus students around to balance the population. There has also been some controversy recently about new schools in Plano and where to put students, but I'll let someone else who knows better than I answer questions about that one.
My home is in DallasISD, kids generally go to the closest neighborhood school but the lines can be kind of wacky. In DallasISD, if you live 2 or more miles from your neighborhood school then you can use a bus.
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Old 02-25-2010, 12:37 PM
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
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Thanks for the information. I'll look more closely if/when I decide on a job offer.
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:33 PM
Location: Dallas, TX
2,340 posts, read 5,502,520 times
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Originally Posted by emelvee View Post

For now, I just want to know if we'll be able to know where our daughter (in 3rd grade) will go based on where we buy a home.
In Plano ISD, this is indeed the case. Your street address will have an assigned set of Elementary, Middle, High (9-10) and Senior High (11-12) schools, generally (but not always) the closest school to your house. The district website has a school finder that will spit out the assigned schools for any street address that is typed in.

There is no uncertainty involved. If you live in the school zone, they WILL make a place for your child at that school, even if they have to hire another teacher. There are NO overflow schools or instances of schools "filling up".

In almost all situations, there is no school splitting. All the kids at a given elementary will attend the same middle school. All the kids at a given middle school will attend the same high school and senior high.

(Exceptions: There is one elementary school (Jackson) that splits to two middle schools, and one middle school (Schimelpfenig) that is allowed to choose between two high schools. There is an isolated area (in the City of Richardson, but in Plano ISD) without a nearby elementary that is allowed to choose between two elementary schools (Mendenhall and Aldridge).)

You have the option of transferring to almost any of the other schools in the district (on a space-available basis) if your zoned school is not to your taste.
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:41 PM
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This is how it works in my neighborhood and the rest of Dallas - just pull up the map:

http://www.dallasisd.org/demo/schoolinfo/highzones2009/Wilson2009.pdf (broken link)

Or you can enter your address and find your schools.
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:02 PM
Location: Georgia native in McKinney, TX
6,041 posts, read 8,759,161 times
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Re the comments on McKinney:

The majority of McKinney's new suburban growth has taken place west of central expressway. The original pre-suburban city lies east of central. This eastern area has plenty of beautiful neighborhoods but has some older, poorer districts, remnants of an older time. Many cities and towns all across the south were once totally segregated and some of this remains in terms of poorer neighborhoods that have been in place since this era. Thus the phrase "being from the wrong side of the tracks."

Keep in mind this section was the "poor" part of town back when McKinney had a population of 20,000 or less. This section of town has gotten better over the years, has some infill newer housing stock, but is still not like what one finds even west of the square and especially what is west of Central. However, the vast growth in McKinney in the last two decades that has taken its population to 120,000 has been middle to upper income neighborhoods primarily to the west of Central Expressway.

The McKinney ISD has done a good job of keeping the schools diverse and avoiding having an "us vs. them" attitude. However, this is primarily for the 3 high schools and to some extent the middle schools. McKinney's elementary schools are for the most part neighborhood schools.

The three high schools line up pretty close the the north/south axis with both North and McKinney High being within a block or two of Central expressway and Boyd being not too far to the west of it. The high school attendance lines are all three long east to west (roughly) attendance lines so that each school gets a share of the newer, wealthier west side and the poorer parts to the far east. The McKinney High zone is south of Eldorado, Boyd is roughly north of Eldorado to a jagged line between Virginia and 380 and North has everthing north of that line.

Just read where McKinney North will now have an open enrollment as it is 1000 students below capacity. The northern side of McKinney has vast tracts of undeveloped land that the planners figured would have experienced more growth by now. The attendance zones were drawn to reflect future growth that has been slowed by the economy.
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