FRISCO — Like they do at every meeting, Frisco ISD board members opened Monday night's meeting with a prayer. Proving just how difficult a decision they were facing, one member asked for wisdom in deciding how to rezone five new schools opening in eight months.
Board members have not yet decided the boundary lines for four new elementary schools opening in 2014-2015, but a unanimous vote cemented the zoning for Independence High, which will open just a quarter-of-a-mile from Heritage High.
"I'm moving schools whether I like it or not," said Matthew Sowell, a Centennial High School sophomore who will end up a member of the first graduating class of Independence High.
Independence will open in August with ninth, tenth and eleventh graders.
"I really do like Centennial," he said. "It's a good school and I'm just getting pulled away all the sudden."
The growing district approved a plan to pull students from Centennial, Liberty and Heritage high schools.
Some parents expressed concerns about safety as the rezoning means some students will have to cross Main Street and/or Independence Parkway. Main Street is undergoing a massive reconstruction as it's widened.
"Even when they're done with construction it's still going to be a very dangerous situation for our kids to traverse," said Roger Mellor, who has two children in the eighth grade who will be in the first freshmen class at Independence. He also has a freshman at Centennial who will be transferred.
"I’m a little disappointed they didn't have a clear plan about what they wanted to do to make this a safe way for our kids to get to school," he said.
Mellor's daughter, Jasmine, said she wasn’t worried about the social side of a new school, but safety does concern her.
"I'm more worried about how I'm going to get to school," she said.
Board member Dan Mossakowski agreed with her.
"Under construction, there's a serious safety issue we may want to address," he said.
The district will now consider offering buses to students who would be forced to cross Main. That's counter to typical Frisco ISD procedure, which usually doesn't bus students who live within two miles of a campus.
Frisco opened four new schools in 2012. It opened its last high school, Lone Star, in 2010. Rezoned boundaries for the elementary schools opening next year are expected to be approved at the school board meeting in January.