On November 28, the Allen ISD held a board meeting to vote for the approval of a controversial redistricting plan. It addresses overcrowding at some elementary schools on the west side of Expressway 75 by repurposing the less attended campuses on the east side. As previously reported by Local Profile, parents are not happy, and one board member resigned in protest after the plan was approved.
Despite the parents' pleas, three hours after the meeting started the board voted to approve the plan. It would’ve been a unanimous vote if it wasn’t for Vatsa Ramanathan, the only board member who voted against the plan and who, after a tense moment, resigned on the spot in protest.
Update 11/30/2022 - 11:04 a.m.: In the aftermath of Monday’s board meeting, Vatsa Ramanathan, the sole member voting against the newly approved redistricting plan, spoke up about the reasons behind his resignation. “The initial impression that was created about the parents was that they are very emotional and they don't know what they're doing, and stuff like that. And I also believed that… but I wanted to see exactly what is the data that was presented, and how things are going to work out,” he told NBCDFW. Ramanathan, who works in data analysis for a tech company, said he conducted an analysis and the results supported the parents' concerns and in light of the controversy, many members of the committee were pushing to delay the vote. Our original story continues below.
"We have always been told to go to the community and get their feedback," Ramanathanhe told WFAA moments after he resigned.
In the newly approved plan, Anderson Elementary is the most affected school, with 406 students moving to Olson Elementary, two miles away. In addition to overcrowding in the western schools, a newly adopted state requirement mandates that the district has to provide full-day pre-kindergarten. This is why the district is looking to turn Anderson into an early childhood campus.
Rountree Elementary is facing similar changes. Around 350 students will move to Story Elementary, while Rountree will be repurposed for non-instructional programming needs.
Just as it happened in previous community meetings dozens of parents showed up trying to change the board’s decision on the plan, arguing that for some families moving young children to a different, more distant school could create safety concerns.
The district argues that this adjustment of the attendance boundaries is due to enrollment unbalances throughout the district, but according to Anderson Elementary School parent Michelle Boren, the math doesn’t add up.
“They are saying that the west side schools are overcrowded," Boren told CBSDFW. . "You're only going to move 300 of those kids over to the east side. Yet you're going to move around 1,300 kids on the east side and you're going to close two schools.”
The changes will come into effect for the 2023 school year.