ERIC Number: EJ914004
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
Boundary Changing without Acrimony
Gunnell, Thomas J.
School Administrator, v68 n1 p23-29 Jan 2011
In December 2009, a rapid-growth school district on the Texas Gulf Coast shifted its paradigm of rezoning. Even though half of the Katy Independent School District (Katy ISD) was affected, it achieved a genuine ownership for boundary changes that would affect more than 11,500 students at five schools. Katy ISD accomplished this by seeking recommendations from every patron who wanted to have his or her comment heard and vetting their input through the community as a whole. Katy ISD also made full use of electronic communication. The result was a superior rezoning plan that enabled the community to track and observe how their input was being considered. Katy ISD abandoned the traditional and always-contentious open forum, an open-microphone format of community feedback. Instead, the district opted for a strategy that pro-actively engaged stakeholders. The multi-phase approach included these features: (1) public workshops in which structured and actionable suggestions were developed in small working groups; (2) individual comments shared through an on-line forum; (3) full transparency through the publishing of all comments on a public website; (4) school district responses to suggestions and concerns raised by the public made available to the press and community members; and (5) an Internet campaign that allowed the district's message to go viral. Scalable and flexible, this process now is used extensively by the Katy district for high-stakes community issues. The district has applied the same procedures for long-range facility planning, a public information campaign for a facility referendum and the development of recommendations for a recently approved bond election.
Descriptors: Private Schools, Zoning, School Districts, School District Reorganization, Strategic Planning, Workshops, Change Strategies, Organizational Change, School Community Programs, School Community Relationship, Community Involvement, Organizational Communication, Group Dynamics
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas