The Edinburg school district has unveiled its boundaries to accommodate for new high schools and middle schools, some of which open their doors next fall, according to district officials.
The final maps have yet to go before the school board, and district administrators say they intend to organize a town hall style meeting to solicit feedback from the community in late January. The maps however, take into account the schools created from the Bond program started in 2008.
“One of the concerns was splitting in half the communities, and kids growing up together, which are all valid concerns. The other concern was how to balance, as much as we can, the percentage of economically disadvantaged children,” said Mario Salinas, assistant superintendent for district administration. Salinas, who along with the district’s transportation department and a committee of principals and parents, was responsible for putting the maps together. Each map ultimately has to be presented to the board for approval.
“We stretched the boundaries up to keep San Carlos together so we don’t have to separate the children that have grown up together forever. Then we added one section to Edinburg High School to work with Economedes. Then we went north trying to scoop up some children and balance as much as we can,” Salinas said.
District officials attempted to keep the zonings of current and future high schools “very neat,” by dividing the boundaries along Bus. 281 from north to south, and along Schunior Street from east to west.
The new Robert Vela High School is estimated to have 2,200 students when it opens in Aug. 2012; 70 percent of students at the campus will be deemed economic disadvantaged. Edinburg North will have a 2,283 estimated enrollment, with the percentage of economic disadvantaged at 88 percent. Economedes will have an enrollment of about 2,260 and 89 percent ED. Edinburg High School will have an enrollment of 2,326 with a rate of about 87 percent economically disadvantaged.
Upcoming middle schools include Harwell with an estimated student population of 1,125 with 92 percent economically disadvantaged children. Memorial will have an estimated enrollment of 1,200 with 90 percent ED. Barrientes will include about 1,200 students with 85 percent ED. South is estimated to contain 1,245 student with 67 percent ED. Garza will have 1,076 students with 84 percent ED.
Longoria Middle School, which is slated to open its doors Aug. 2011 will have an enrollment of 1,003 with 85 percent economically disadvantaged.
“The numbers are very tentative. We are about half way through but they are not going to change a whole lot more than this,” Salinas said. “Knowing that, these counts represent today’s seventh and eight graders, as well as ninth through tenth. These are the students that are going to be 9-12 when we open Robert Vela. It doesn’t take into consideration transfers or anything of that nature, just children that are in the district right now. We are not taking into consideration the growth.”
District officials hope to get the maps approved by the board meeting right before Spring Break, according to Salinas. If the district misses that target, then the numbers should be finalized at the meeting right after the break, he said. As the district gets closer to those dates, then administrators will start projecting numbers based on historical growth.
There is not a lot that administrators use to base growth, other than just historical growth, Salinas said. The district has been growing, on average 4 to 5 percent per year.
“The concern is that we are growing fast, as you can imagine. We are going to open these middle schools next year and all of them are going to be full,” Salinas said. “What I try to do is take the different sectors that we have, going back five years, and I look at the growth. With that I can predict into the future, what the growth is going to be. It’s the only tool I have. We have the data to estimate growth. I may miss it by one or two percentage points, but not by much.”