The Facilities Advisory Committee finalized the list of projects it would recommend Lewisville ISD fund with a municipal bond. The option to rebuild Hedrick Elementary remains off the list of recommended projects.
The FAC gathered in the Lewisville ISD board room to make this decision on Thursday, Jan. 19. Many parents said they would vote against the entire bond if it wasn’t recommended at the previous week’s school board meeting. The bond will be formally proposed to the board Feb. 9 and would go up for a public vote in May, if approved.
The future of the elementary school has been in doubt since September of 2016, when officials recommended tearing down both it and the connected middle school but listed rebuilding the elementary school as optional. Executive director of facility services Jason Hughes said that while the 40 year old buildings have been maintained, neither of them are up to current LISD building standards and it would be more cost-efficient to replace them than to renovate them.
Nearby elementary schools are not at capacity, and building a new school with Lewisville’s current standards would require both schools’ space. Because of these things, district literature says it would be a better use of space to expand the middle school and send the elementary students and teachers elsewhere. Hughes said that while rebuilding both schools is an option, bringing them up to date with current standards would require adding multiple floors and limiting playground and athletics spaces.
Several parents and school employees attended last week’s school board meeting to express concerns about the logistics of sending students who would attend Hedrick Elementary to other nearby schools, as well as commending Hedrick for what they say is a unique community. Transportation for students whose school would go from across the street to upward of two miles away is a common concern. Another is increasing class size.
LISD executive director of communications Amanda Brim said that because any changes that may be voted for would take more than a year to come about, the details of implementing those changes haven’t been looked at yet. Hughes said that all of the projects presented to the FAC were only planned out to the point of determining whether or not they were feasible and coming up with a cost estimate.
“Because it is so far down the line before any of the positions have to be finalized, we’re really in no position to say what that may look like,” Brim said. “We wouldn’t want to speculate on what that would look like right now.”
Brim said class sizes would not increase because Hedrick Elementary teachers would be sent to other elementary schools along with the students. Brim also said the district has experience at reorganizing after closing Milliken Middle School in 1997.
Shannon Richardson represents Hedrick Elementary on the FAC, and has been a member of the school’s PTA for 10 years. All three of her children attended the school, with the youngest still there in fourth grade.
The FAC is made up of almost 90 community members from several positions all across the district, which extends from Flower Mound to portions of Plano. Richardson said the information they were presented on Hedrick Elementary came in the form of a pros and cons handout and part of a discussion in the November meeting on what could and could not be rebuilt. She said pushing a personal agenda was discouraged, so she did not want to speak up.
“Hey, these people don’t have transportation. If you bus them far away, these kids aren’t going to be able to stay for tutoring. They’re not going to be able to stay late for after-school activities,” Richardson said. “To be honest, I think if I was able to have said something like that, it might have changed people’s minds.”