School board members 11-18

From left are school board members Dan Cash, Eliot Mitchell, Brad Fiscus and Jay Galbreath.

The new school doesn’t have a name yet, but it does have an enrollment plan in place after the Williamson County Schools Board of Education voted Monday night to approve the district’s latest zoning proposal.

By a vote of 11-1 at the board's November meeting at the Williamson County Administrative Complex, members approved the new zoning plan that will go into effect in the 2020-21 school year and in alignment with the opening of a new middle school on Hen Peck Lane.

Its impact will be primarily on elementary and middle schools that are in the area where the new school is being built, specifically Thompson’s Station, Oak View and Winstead elementary schools and Heritage, Spring Station and Thompson’s Station middle schools. There are no rezoning changes planned for the high schools in the area: Centennial, Independence and Summit. 

(Click here and scroll down to 8.d for the 2020 Zoning Proposal.) 

The district drafted the zoning proposal earlier this year, and held two community meetings within the last month for affected families to learn more and ask questions. Those meetings were held at Oak View Elementary and Thompson’s Station Middle.

“We’ve had a lot of good community input from a lot of folks,” WCS Superintendent Jason Golden said at Monday’s meeting. “Sometimes those [community] meetings are hard, but I have never failed to appreciate the discussions we have had with our families about their children’s experience in our schools and their requests of you [board members] relating to zoning. We make the recommendations, and you all have the hard part of having to go and make the decision.”

The decision was delayed somewhat by a motion put forth by Eliot Mitchell, Third District, the lone board member who voted against the zoning proposal. He asked that board policy be suspended, and for the proposal to allow rising seventh graders at Spring Station Middle who are being rezoned to Heritage (57 students) or Thompson’s Station (24) to remain at Spring Station for the next two school years. 

“The intent of this motion is to effectively grandfather the current sixth grade class at Spring Station to allow them to finish their middle school career at Spring Station,” Mitchell said.

“I’m making this motion because these are my constituents,” he later added. “If somebody wants to do a similar motion for their constituents within the Henpeck Lane area, then that would be their privilege.”

Mitchell’s motion got some pushback from a couple of members, and it ultimately failed to carry by a vote of 8-4 against.

Eric Welch, 10thDistrict, said board members are beholden to families throughout the county, not just constituents in their district.

Nancy Garrett, 12th District, voiced three concerns with Mitchell’s proposed amendment.

“First of all,” she said, “we are the policy-making body, so I have a concern about suspending policy. … Additionally, with the issue of trying to impact as few families as possible and offering some flexibility, I’m all for that. But I think that’s already a part of our process when we talk about the open zone slots and numbers each year in January.

“Finally, I have this issue that if it’s something we can’t offer to all students and all families, then do we offer it to some?”

The board won’t meet again until Jan. 6 for its policy meeting, followed by its monthly work session Jan. 16 and regular meeting Jan. 21.

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