School board talks spot rezoning for Lipscomb, Spring Station schools


The Williamson County Board of Education discussed spot rezoning to relieve overcrowding at Lipscomb Elementary and Spring Station Middle schools next year at Thursday’s work session.

The Williamson County Board of Education discussed spot rezoning to relieve overcrowding at Lipscomb Elementary and Spring Station Middle schools next year at Thursday’s work session.

WCS Superintendent Mike Looney recommended to the board rezoning an estimated 20 percent of the Bethesda Elementary population from Spring Station to Heritage Middle School and approximately 10 percent of Lipscomb Elementary students to Walnut Grove Elementary.

Looney said he could provide a full list of affected subdivisions at Monday’s board meeting.

In rezoning Lipscomb, Looney proposed a “long-term solution” of moving students who live south of Moores Lane to Walnut Grove for the 2014-2015 school year.

“We don’t feel the Walnut Grove population will grow extensively in the near future. That is a stable solution,” he said.

Board representative Janice Mills said she has heard of a misperception that only Brentwood families could attend Brentwood schools.

“We’ve never looked at city boundaries, and I don’t plan on doing that. We’re a county school system. It’s what makes sense geographically to me. And the truth of it is, we have portables at Lipscomb and still have teachers on carts. This is the best recommendation we came up with,” Looney said.

These students would continue to be zoned for Brentwood Middle and Brentwood High until 2016 when the new Nolensville high school is expected to open.

At that point, the area would be rezoned to Grassland Middle and Franklin High, with students given the option to attend Grassland next year and the 2015-2016 school year.

“We believe more families will want to stay in the feeder pattern they’re currently in, but maybe we need to ask the families before we make that decision,” Looney said.

With his proposal, the Bethesda population would be split between Spring Station and Heritage. Those rezoned for Heritage would have the option of returning to their feeder pattern and attending Summit High School, or attending Independence High School.  

“The recommendation I’m making is for students to continue in elementary school, switch [zones] at middle school and go back to their original zone with the option for families to choose Independence if they want. It would mean open-zoning Independence,” Looney said.

In explaining why students would be allowed to return to Summit, Looney said, “The rationale is, it’s a temporary removal from their clean feeder pattern. Summit is ramping up staffing, programs and athletics. If you remove a significant amount of kids from Summit, you have to release employees and reduce programs. All that would happen at Independence is hiring additional teachers for the people that wanted to go there.”

Open zoning for Independence would apply to those students affected by the rezoning.

Eighth graders are grandfathered into Summit and will not be impacted by the spot rezoning. Sixth and seventh graders will be given the option to attend Summit or Independence.

WCS Planning and Zoning Specialist Susan Parker estimates a growth spurt in the Page schools area, which is why Spring Station should not be rezoned for Page, Looney said.

Board member P.J. Mezera said if the proposed zoning plan is followed, the bus system should run based on distance between the middle and high schools. In other words, transportation would run from Heritage to Independence because of the distance, while those who opt to attend Summit would provide their own transportation.

Recommendations will be presented formally in November. 

The new zoning lines and subdivisions in the current school zones in question can be found on the WCS school board website.

Jessica Pace covers Williamson County, Williamson County Schools and the Town of Nolensville for BrentWord Communications. Contact her at jess@brentwoodhomepage.com or follow her on Twitter @Jess_Marie_Pace.

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