Residents of White Rock Valley and other areas of Lake Highlands have been at odds of late regarding the construction of a new elementary school on White Rock Trail near Walnut Hill, which would address the undisputed issue of overcrowding at White Rock Elementary and throughout the district.
At the last RISD board meeting, members said they would proceed with plans to build the new school and that they were in the process of drawing its attendance lines. A hearing to discuss said lines, originally scheduled for Monday, did not happen. Jeannie Stone, superintendent, sent out a memo last week notifying the community that the school board planned to postpone the hearing and the assignment of boundaries and perhaps the school itself.
Here is her reason, as stated in the Sept. 15 letter to homeowners near the school and White Rock Elementary, where the neighborhood currently is zoned:
Thank you for the feedback you’ve shared related to the new school on White Rock Trail and proposed attendance boundaries. The interest and passion you continue to demonstrate for your school and community has been incredible, and matches the commitment and support you’ve always shown to your neighborhood school.
At the same time, as RISD’s leader, I’m troubled by how this issue has divided many in the White Rock community. Being divided is not in the best interest of the students, teachers and staff who deserve our united support. For this reason, I’ve decided the district needs additional time to evaluate options.
We will be postponing the public hearing originally scheduled for September 19, and advising our Board of Trustees that we will not be ready to make a final recommendation on attendance boundaries for a vote on October 3.
White Rock Elementary’s extraordinarily rapid growth has placed it in a unique situation in our district. While I understand the need to act to accommodate our students and families, I also want to take the time I believe is necessary to ensure that the decision we make is the right one for our students and the entire WRE community.
There might be more to it, and we are looking into that.
On Friday, District 10 councilman Adam McGough posted an image on his Facebook page of the City of Dallas demolition permit, dated Sept. 16, for the office building at 9603 White Rock Trail (the site of the proposed school). In the “Remarks” section of the permit, there is a note in all caps: SCHOOL NOT PERMITTED ON THIS SITE.
We’ve left messages with the permit office as well as McGough and will update as we learn more.