Parents talk about concerns with proposed AISD elementary school boundary changes

ABILENE, Texas - Concerned parents met Tuesday to discuss proposed elementary school boundary changes that could affect about 500 kids. It was the first of four public hearings to address parent's questions and concerns before Abilene Independent School District votes on the measure Feb. 11th.

A few parents spoke about their fears when it comes to moving their children between schools.

"I started crying first thing. Just worried about my kids and them having to start over somewhere new, which is something I never wanted my kids to do is to start over," said Brandi Johnson who has two kids that currently attend Jackson Elementary. Her kids would be moved to Ward Elementary if the changes are approved.

When Johnson found out that her neighborhood was one of several that could be affected by elementary school boundary changes, she felt helpless.

 "We purchased our house for Jackson, Madison and Cooper, so it's really hard to know that we bought our house so our kids have stability, but yet you feel that the stability that you're providing your children is being taken away from you without your control," Johnson said. 

But AISD officials said some schools are overcrowded and it's time to make tough decisions.

"There are going to be times we have to adjust boundaries because neighborhoods change, populations grow in some areas and not in others," said AISD Communications Director Phil Ashby. 

The proposed boundary changes will affect some students at Jackson, Reagan, Dyess, Bassetti and Ward elementary schools.

AISD staff said they will try to make the move as painless as possible.

"They're going to hopefully have friends that make this move with them and we think that transition will be as good as it possibly can," Ashby said. 

School officials said children that are in special education programs will be offered the same help at their new school. They also said if students are moved now, they will not be moved again while they are still in elementary school.

There will be three more public hearings to discuss the proposed changes. The next meeting is at Reagan Elementary on Thursday. There is also a meeting at Dyess Elementary Jan. 29th and the last hearing is Jan. 31 at Bassetti Elementary. All meetings are at 6 p.m.

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