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School board approves elementary boundary changes

New school boundaries map. (Photo provided)

By Jacob Sturm

Parents of students attending Riverwood Elementary, Mustang Creek Elementary and Mustang Trails Elementary may be impacted by the Mustang Board of Education’s recent decision on 2023-24 boundary realignment.

The school district is growing in areas influencing the numbers of students attending those three schools, and that makes for an unusual boundary change.

Superintendent Charles Bradleyaddressed the boundary change during the meeting on May 8.

“Typically, …it’s only discussed whenever we’re adding a building, much like we did with Riverwood and Prairie View and when we had Central and Meadow Brook,” Bradley said. “We talk about doing a redistricting and boundary realignment because we want to be able to shift our student population so that we can put a manageable number of students inside the building.”

“…This is somewhat of a unique process for us because we’re taking about a boundary realignment without the opening of a building to discuss with it,” Bradley said.

MPS had a company come in and project the growth of the elementary schools in the district up until 2031-32.

So, why is a realignment necessary?

Riverwood Elementary currently is the school for 873 students in MPS. The number is significantly higher than at the other Elementary Schools within the district.

Kindergarten, first grade, second grade and fourth grade are already above the MPS limit for class sizes at Riverwood. Also, four teachers would need to be added to sustain the current student population before anticipated growth is factored in.

Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education, Stacy Edwards, also presented the material for the school board members to deliberate.

“Our plan is to realign the boundaries of Riverwood, Creek and Trails Elementary School for the 2023-24 school year to prepare for Elementary No. 9 and to address the growth,” Edwards said.

Part of the realignment would send a Riverwood neighborhood that used to be filtered to Trails Elementary back to the school. That neighborhood, shown in cyan on the provided boundary map, is between Cemetery Road and Frisco Road between Reno and 15th.

Another area, marked as orange on the boundary map, used to be filtering into Creek
Elementary before the opening of Riverwood. The 2023-24 changes would send the
neighborhood between 15th and 29th street just West of Sara Road back to Creek.

So, how did the district align the boundaries that way beforehand? Bradley said it came down to filling Riverwood when it first started.

“There was nothing but pasture all around Riverwood (for) 360 degrees, and we were struggling to get it to 500 the first year at Riverwood because we knew the growth was coming that first year,” Bradley said.

One teaching position will move from Riverwood to Trails and another from Riverwood to Creek through attrition (due to a retirement or a staff member resigning).

Parents of students who will be in a different elementary school boundary in 2023-24 will be receiving a letter in the coming weeks to confirm the move. There is an MPS policy in place which would allow students in the fourth grade to remain in their current school for their exit year.

Those wishing to take advantage of that opportunity need to fill out a transfer form and turn it in at their current elementary school. Once received, the transfer for exit year students will be automatically approved. Parents can also fill out a transfer form for younger students, though that approval would be based on enrollment.

Parents must provide transportation for all transfer students.

Bradley said once Elementary School No. 9 is completed, those affected by this boundary change will be taken into consideration with the district’s plan to do everything it can to not affect them a second time.

The board voted to approve the plan to realign the boundaries as part of the meeting.

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