Citizens Sound Off on BISD Zone Possibilities

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Bryan residents sounded off on recommendations for new middle and high school attendance zones. With the creation of a fourth middle school and a second high school in the city, a citizen committee developed ideas for the school board to consider.

Their vote will come December 7, but citizens made their verbal votes Tuesday night.

The two options for middle school attendance zones have drawn attention. In essence, one plan -- Option 3A-2 -- would send students from Bowen Elementary to Stephen F. Austin Middle School. Currently, those students go on to Sam Rayburn Middle School, which received good marks from the Texas Education Agency. SFA was recently rated unacceptable.

Bryan Middle Schools Attendance Zones
Option 3A-2

Bryan Middle Schools Attendance Zones
Option B

"We feel as if we are being used to boost the TEA rating of middle schools in BISD," said one young student who currently attends Rayburn, but would go to SFA if Option 3A-2 was chosen.

Option 3B, the other recommendation from the citizen committee, would keep those Bowen students going to Rayburn.

What Option 3A-2 would do is close the projected socio-economic status gap in the district, which currently stands at 28 percent between the highest and lowest school. Some people opposed to Option 3A-2 say the economic numbers shouldn't be the focus.

"If this is such a concern of the school district, the attendance zones should have been redrawn every few years to keep it balanced, and not used this bond election and the new middle school as an excuse to redraw on that basis now," said another opponent to that option.

But proponents of Option 3A-2 say the economic numbers are a proven indicator of performance, and that the closed gap would equal better TEA ratings.

"If we create one elite school in this town, we will not have one perceived poor school," said one proponent of 3A-2. "We will have three."

"We need every school in Bryan ISD to look as much as possible like our community," said another proponent.

School Board President David Stasny says their decision is an important one, but also said raising school performance will silence critics.

"We are already making great strides in that direction," Stasny said. "If all our schools reach a level that they need to be, this isn't going to be an issue anymore."

Nonetheless, the creation of one new middle school, Davila, has created debate over attendance in two others.

The attendance zone options concerning the new Rudder High School and the current Bryan High were not widely discussed at the public hearing.

The school board can vote for a recommendation from the citizen committee, or can go another direction.

Bryan High Schools Attendance Zones
Option 4

Bryan High Schools Attendance Zones
Option 5