HISD Could Limit WUES Enrollment

A state mandate to limit class size “waivers” could impact future enrollment at West U Elementary School, Principal John Threet told parents in a letter published in the school’s newspaper.

Threet’s letter is the result of an HISD proposal, announced at a meeting last Thursday, in which the district sought public comment regarding plans to ease overcrowding at Roberts, Twain and West University Elementary Schools.  The meeting was designed to present a draft plan to reduce overcrowding in these schools and solicit input from parents, teachers, and community members.

No final decisions have been made. Nothing is final, until the HISD Board of Trustees votes to approve a plan.

“ Under the proposal, we will track the date and time of completed registrations for new students enrolling for 2015-2016.  When we reach the maximum number at any grade level, students will be placed on a waiting list,” Threet said in his letter.

Under state law, the student-to-teacher ratio is required to be 22 students per teacher in grades K through 4th. School districts have routinely sought waivers from the state of Texas from that requirement. However, the state of Texas has notified HISD that the district “must act now” to reduce the number of classrooms that require such a waiver, Threet explained in his letter.

Threet said that HISD’s current proposal will allow all students currently enrolled and who continue to live within our school attendance zone to return to West U next year.

Threet’s letter explained that students who are not enrolled at WUES in the next school year will receive a “capped school transfer to The Rice School”

HISD’s plan is to reserve slots at Rice to accommodate the overflow from Roberts, Twain, and West U.

Threet said in his letter than there are no plans to give preference to the younger siblings of current students of children who will enter Kindergarten next year.

“ Student selection will be on a first come, first served basis,” Threet wrote.

School officials are taking several steps to ensure that WUES will be able to accommodate as many zoned students as possible, Threet continued.

“As we have done for many years, we will require proof of residency from all current students who plan to return. We will verify questionable residency documentation with a home visit.  Students who are found to not reside where the family claims they live will be withdrawn from our school.  Additionally, we are not accepting any new out-or-zone transfers to West U,” Threet said.

The families likely to be impacted by the new enrollment plan are those “who wait until the summer or when school starts in August to register,” Threet said.

“This may impact those families who travel out of the country for the summer or families who plan late summer vacations, and wish to return after the first day of school.  We cannot guarantee a space for your child if your child is not present on the first day of school,” Threet said in his letter.

The principal stressed that no final decisions have been made about the plan.

“As soon  as I hear of any other proposed changes to the plan, or hear of any additional meetings for our parents, I will notify you,” Threet wrote.

He encouraged parents of WUES students to contact HISD trustee Michael Lunceford with their concerns about the district’s new enrollment plans.