Little Elm ISD proposal to 'repurpose' school upsets some parents

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on June 3, 2013 at 10:26 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 3 at 10:49 PM

Zellars Elementary School

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LITTLE ELM -- There were dozens of kids running up and down Kasey Mumbru's street Monday night, and that's typical. Her Little Elm neighborhood is the kind of neighborhood people envy, surrounding the kind of school parents covet.

"We are a close community, we know our neighbors, a lot of us walk to school together," Mumbru said. "Zellars is our family, too."

Zellars Elementary is one of four exemplary-rated elementary campuses in Little Elm ISD, which is growing by several hundred students a year. Yet Zellars may not be a traditional school much longer.

There is a proposal to move the district's day care offered to employees, two programs for at risk middle and high school students, and central administration to the Zellars campus.

Superintendent Lynne Leuthard said that repurposing Zellars makes financial sense.

The district has no central administration building. Leuthard's office and other administrative offices are inside the high school.

"We have an aging building that holds programs," she said. "We need new space for them and for us. And we don't want to use taxpayer money on us."

The current building housing the at-risk programs is in need of extensive renovation, she said. The school district might sell off that property.

Zellars is the smallest elementary school in the district. It was constructed as a primary school, but now houses students through fifth grade. Current students would be re-zoned.

"With this proposal, we save $4.4 million over 4 years," Leuthard said. "So as far as finances, it's the most sound proposal."

Some parents don't like it, and they packed a board meeting Monday night wearing T-shirts and holding up signs.

The board did not take public comment, because the meeting was just a workshop. Another public meeting is expected.

"It's not broke, so why do you want to mess with it?" Mumbru asked.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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