Boundary Change Frequently Asked Questions

Why are boundary changes necessary?

NISD continues to experience rapid enrollment growth. School boundaries have to change to populate new schools and to alleviate overcrowding at existing campuses.

What are some alternatives to changing school boundaries?

When practical, the District may:

  • Allocate portable buildings
  • Cap campus enrollment, sending subsequently enrolled students to another campus with surplus capacity
  • Build an addition to the facility

When a boundary change is necessary, what principles guide its development?

We take many factors into consideration when defining an attendance area. Since managing enrollment growth is our primary concern, we first look at:

  • campus growth projections and
  • capacity

Other factors include:

  • feeder patterns
  • community unity (i.e., not splitting a neighborhood)
  • geographic proximity
  • frequency of change for students
  • program accommodations and student needs
  • cost effectiveness

Who determines when and where boundary changes are needed?

The Office of Resource Planning tracks community development, projected enrollment and campus capacity for all schools in NISD. Through an ongoing process of data review, Resource Planning outlines plans for needed boundary changes. The Superintendent and Cabinet review each plan and decide on an Administrative Proposal.

What is the process for making boundary changes?

  1. Resource Planning presents the Administrative Proposal for a boundary change to the Board of Trustees as an information item and then to the School Boundary Advisory Committee (SBAC) for review.
  2. The Administrative Proposal is announced to the public through various methods and feedback is requested:

    • Flyers are mailed to affected student's home addresses and/or given to students to take home.
    • Articles are published through District channels such as Lessons and the NISD website.
    • The Communications Department also distributes news releases to local media.
  3. The SBAC hosts public hearing(s) where patrons can review the Administrative Proposal, ask questions, voice opinions and submit written feedback.
  4. The SBAC meets to review the public's written feedback and opinions voiced in the public forum. The SBAC discusses the needs of the District, the guiding principles for boundary changes and desires of the community. After studying the details, the SBAC ultimately votes on a recommended boundary to present in a report to the Board of Trustees.
  5. The chairperson of the SBAC presents their Recommended Boundary and Report to the Board of Trustees as an action item. Following discussion, the Board votes to approve/disapprove and/or modify the SBAC's recommended boundary. Attendance areas for District schools are only established by the Board.

Who is part of the School Boundary Advisory Committee (SBAC)?

The SBAC is a committee composed of two patrons from each middle school attendance area in NISD and approved by the Board of Trustees. Members are parents of elementary, middle or high school-age students. To maintain continuity from each attendance area, members normally serve overlapping two-year terms. District employees are not eligible.

Once approved, do boundary changes apply to all students?

Yes. Northside ISD assigns students to schools according to the street address where the student resides. Once the Board approves a boundary, it applies to all students living within the attendance zone with the following exceptions.

Exceptions when opening a new school:

  • Elementary School: The year a boundary change goes into affect, incoming 5th grade students may remain at their former school, but the District does not provide transportation.
  • Middle School: The year a boundary change goes into affect, incoming 8th grade students may remain at their former school, but the District does not provide transportation.
  • High School: NISD opens new high schools without a senior class. The year a boundary change goes into affect, incoming 12th grade students remain at their former high school. The District continues to provide transportation to eligible 12th grade students under District guidelines.

    As applied to the approved Sotomayor High School boundary: Incoming 2022-23 seniors in the new Sotomayor High School attendance area will remain at their current high school.  NISD will open Sotomayor HS without a senior class in 2022-23.  Underclassmen, including those with a 12th grade sibling in 2022-23, will attend Sotomayor HS.

Exceptions for boundary changes between two existing schools:

  • Elementary School: same as above.
  • Middle School: same as above.
  • High School: Returning high school students and their concurrently enrolled siblings may continue at their former high school. The District will provide transportation to eligible students under District guideline for three years beginning with the first year of the boundary change.

    Does not apply to the approved Sotomayor High School boundary: There are no associated boundary changes between existing high schools in the approved Sotomayor High School boundary. (For example, a boundary change between existing high schools would include moving students from Harlan HS to Clark HS, or Harlan HS to Taft HS - one existing NISD high school to another NISD existing high school that were both open in the 2021-22 school year. )