New school attendance zones

The Fayette County Board of Education is redrawing school boundaries in anticipation of the construction of a new high school and two new elementary schools in north Lexington. In August 2016, district leaders plan to open one elementary east of I-75 off Polo Club Boulevard and another one off Georgetown Road. In August 2017, a sixth high school will open on Winchester Road.

The work of drawing new boundaries began in April 2014 with the first meeting of a 27-member committee including parents, teachers, FCPS administrators, two school board members, a district Equity Council representative, a city planning official, a home builder and other community stakeholders. The school board approved the panel at its April 28 meeting. This group's meetings are open to the public, and community input is welcome in person or via www.fcps.net/letstalk. A school board decision on the new school attendance zones is expected in early 2015.

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Public listening sessions

Committee meetings
Resources

District Facilities Plan

Area maps and feeder patterns

Guiding principles for student school assignment, including desirable specifications, foundational requirements and proposed stakeholder groups

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Why are we redrawing school attendance boundaries?

Enrollment in Fayette County Public Schools has been growing an average 600 to 750 students a year for the past decade, which has created crowding in schools throughout our community.  To accommodate this growth, the district is building two new elementary schools and one new high school.  In advance of opening these schools, we have to create attendance zones for each of the new buildings.  Given the growth in some areas of the county, we also need to adjust boundaries to even out the numbers of students assigned to each school.  Since all of our school zones fit together like a puzzle, a change in one area has a ripple effect on other school boundaries.

Will my family be affected?

We don’t know yet.  The committee is just beginning its work and has not begun to look at what areas of the community will experience changes.  As parents ourselves, we understand the difficulties and frustrations that can arise from changing school zones.  We hope this process will help ease those concerns and produce the best district zones possible.

When will I know where my child is assigned?

The committee expects to present a plan to the Fayette County Board of Education in early 2015.  Draft proposals will begin to be developed after the first round of public listening sessions in June and July.  Draft plans will be shared widely. There will be a second round of listening sessions in the fall before those plans are refined and proposed to the school board.

When will the new school boundaries take effect?

The new elementary school boundaries will be implemented when the two elementary schools open in the fall of 2016.  The new high school boundaries will take effect when the new high school opens in 2017.  The committee will be asked to develop an implementation plan that will include when any changes at the middle school level might be rolled out.

What criteria will the committee use to make decisions about the new school boundaries?

Prior to naming the members of the school rezoning committee, the Fayette County Board of Education adopted guiding principles for student school assignment. The guidelines can be found at www.fcps.net/zones. They include providing every child a high-quality learning experience at every one of our schools and programs, using student socio-economic status as a primary consideration in the assignment of neighborhoods to schools so as to balance the economic diversity of students in every school, establishing feeder patterns, enabling students to attend a neighborhood (or identified, nearby) school as much as possible, considering districtwide programs, and looking ahead to accommodate for future community growth.

What's the process for redrawing the school attendance boundaries?

The Fayette County Board of Education has adopted the guiding principles for student school assignment and appointed a committee of school district employees, parents and community representatives charged with developing new school attendance zones.  The committee met three times to look as some initial demographic information and community growth trends.  Before even beginning to discuss school boundaries, the committee wanted to hear from community members to help guide their work. At the end of July, the committee will begin its work in earnest.  All its meetings are open to the public.  After each meeting, updates will be sent to all families and added to www.fcps.net/zones so that interested community members can follow the work.  In the fall, FCPS will host a second round of public forums before the proposals are finalized and presented to the school board in early 2015 for approval more than a year in advance of implementation.

How can I stay aware of the committee’s work?

Email updates will be sent regularly to all families who are signed up to receive information through Infinite Campus.  To ensure that you receive that information, please enter Infinite Campus through the Parent Portal Primary criteria and select “Contact Preferences” from the menu on the left.  You must be signed up to receive “general notifications” in order to get the emails.

If you do not have a student enrolled in the school district, you can follow the work of the committee here at www.fcps.net/zones. On this page, you can sign up to receive updates whenever new information is posted.

How many students will have to change schools?

Since the committee is just started its work, we do not know how widespread the changes will be.

Will students who have already enrolled in a school be allowed to stay?

The committee has been asked to consider creating a possible implementation plan that could include phasing in the changes, offering families a chance for early enrollment, or providing grandfathering considerations for students already enrolled in schools.  All of those decisions are open to discussion.

Will changing schools be disruptive for students?

Most students are quick to adapt to changes.  Past experience has shown that students, for the most part, adjust well to changing schools if the adults in their lives make the process as positive as possible.

Will consideration be given to families who moved to a certain subdivision in order to enroll their children in specific schools?

As districts grow and change, there is never a guarantee that a subdivision will remain assigned to a specific school or set of schools.

Will the committee consider the impact that their decisions could have on property values?

This is not one of the guiding principles for the establishment of attendance boundaries.  The PVA office does not use school assignment as a factor in determining the value of a home.

Will the committee consider the potential impact of its decisions on PTA involvement, family involvement or sports participation?

We anticipate that families will continue to support their children regardless of what school they attend.

How often will we need to redraw school attendance boundaries?

We cannot predict when we might have to reconsider school zones again.  It has been more than 12 years since FCPS has undertaken a redistricting effort on this scale.  The changes are necessary as we look ahead to the opening of new schools and to address overcrowding.  We have asked the committee to develop a plan that takes future growth into consideration so that we can develop long-term solutions.

How can the district afford to build three new schools?

School districts are funded through different revenue streams, and most of those income sources come with restrictions on how they can be spent. We cannot take money earmarked for buildings and pay for salaries or other operating expenses; those funds are restricted solely for the construction and renovation of school facilities.  Such restrictions are beneficial to schools in Kentucky because school boards never have to choose between hiring staff and maintaining high-quality facilities for students.

Our budget planning includes allowances for the future operating expense of the new schools.  The largest cost of operating a school is related to the teachers and other staff who serve the needs of students.  If we do not open new schools, those students would still be in a different building and we would be paying for staff there.  Since staffing is driven by student enrollment, when the new schools open, the teachers and other support staff will follow the students.

How can I submit comments, questions and concerns?

Feedback can be communicated to the committee through the district’s online system at www.fcps.net/letstalk or by sending written comments to the Department of School, Community and Government Support / Pupil Personnel, attn. attendance zones, at 1126 Russell Cave Road, Lexington KY 40505.  Everything received from the community will be shared directly with the committee.  The district held two public input sessions prior to the committee’s beginning its work and plans on two more listening sessions before the maps are finalized.

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