Bryan Middle School Zones Decided; Issues Still Remain

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The discussion lasted close to two hours, but the middle school attendance zone debate in Bryan is still not fully resolved. Monday, the school board did come to an agreement on a few items. But there is still one big issue.

In a 4-3 vote, the board decided on Option 3A-3, one of five the board was considering, with the major point of contention being the portion of the map where the Tiffany Park, Wheeler Ridge and Park Hudson subdivisions lie. Those students currently attend Sam Rayburn Middle School, which is highly rated by the state.

The newly-drawn plan closes the socio-economic gap in the district by putting those students in the Stephen F. Austin Middle School zone.

But the board also agreed to give families a choice in what school they want to attend, so long as there is room in the schools they want to attend. The map approved Monday basically also amounts to transportation zones, meaning for many, transportation would not be provided by the district.

That's where the big sticking point comes in for the school board -- the so-called grandfathering of students into the zone they are currently in. The board could not come to a majority agreement on how many students would be provided transportation by the district to attend school in their old zone.

Some board members like Brett Cumpton want to see broader grandfathering, like for those who own property in the area.

"We address the needs of those folks that bought these homes in that zone to go to whatever school is, address that issue of whether they can continue to go to that school as long as they own that house," Cumpton said of the next step.

Others board members like Bema Johnson-Hall say it should be limited to current students of those schools only.

"I wouldn't be able to make a decision on those that are not in the schools or even children that haven't even been conceived," Johnson-Hall said. "Current students and that's as far as I'm thinking."

Discussion on amending the current approved agreement will happen at a future board meeting.

The redrawing comes as a result of the creating of a fourth middle school, Davila.