Open Enrollment FAQ for taxpayers

See below for responses to common questions from current GISD families and taxpayers about the district's new Open Enrollment program. 

Is this proposal premature? Should we wait until fall for students to return to school face-to-face?

The district anticipates that most students will return. Some may choose our virtual option, but most will return face-to-face. Our current capacity will support all former students to return and up to 3,000 additional students.

Is there a cap on how many students we allow in the district?

From Pre-K to grade 12, we can accommodate up to 3,000 total students. For the 2021-22 school year we predict that we may only receive about 300 applications.

If enrollment is declining, what else is the district doing to recruit students to return to the district?
  • The district’s recruitment efforts begin at Pre-K and Kindergarten with enrollment drives hosted by campuses and the district. The district incorporates mailers, radio, social media and door hangers in recruiting families to our schools.

  • The district also hosts in-person and virtual fairs to showcase programs to current and prospective families.   

  • We believe that recruitment starts with providing our students a world-class education. GISD ensures that students are taught by certified teachers who meet yearly evaluation criteria. Those teachers implement a viable, evidence-based curriculum to instruct all of our learners. The number and diversity of programming in Garland ISD allows our students to begin their studies in everything from the Air Force JROTC to Pharmacy. Garland ISD offers an unparalleled educational opportunity to its residents

How will the district ensure that we do not enroll too many out-of-district students?
  • The district monitors class sizes to ensure they do not exceed certain limits. 

  • What is the capacity limit for each classroom?

    • At Pre-Kindergarten, the cap is 1:22.

    • At elementary grades 1-4, the cap will be 1:24 for the 2021-22 school year as determined on April 27, 2021 Board vote.

    • At middle school and high school, the cap is 1:27.

How will this affect the Magnet Program? (Magnet spots, funding, recruitment, and the screening process for other students.)

There should be little to no effect. All interested resident students will complete the magnet application process earlier in the spring. Open Enrollment participants will be allowed to apply for remaining seats and cannot be placed ahead of a resident student who may be taking part in the second chance application process.

How will this impact Pre-K enrollment and waitlists?

The Open Enrollment transfer window for Pre-K students will open on June 1, 2021

Will there be busses for students who reside outside the district?

No, parents will be required to provide transportation to and from school for their child(ren).

Will the tax rate/amount change because we are getting more funds from the state?

The Tax Rate establishes the minimum level of funding for the school district (regardless of an increase or decrease in students), and the State makes up the rest of the funding based on student attendance.  New students will not result in an increased tax rate, but the State providing more funding from the State level.  If the District were to lower the tax rate below the State required threshold, then the District will further end up cutting revenue from the budget.

Why isn’t the district charging families to transfer into the district?

The Tax Rate establishes the minimum level of funding for the school district (regardless of an increase or decrease in students), and the State makes up the rest of the funding based on student attendance.  An overall increase in student attendance will result in increased funding from the State level.  This increased level of State Funding will positively benefit the district and cover the expenses incurred by any new students. 

Behavior issues may arise, and families may decide to "district hop" because of their student's behavior. Is there a way to stop that from happening?

Students who have received exclusionary discipline during the current school year are ineligible for the open enrollment program.

Do we conduct exit interviews for teachers and families who leave GISD?

Yes, we do conduct an exit survey for employees who leave the district. Families of students identified as leavers are contacted each fall to discuss why they left and determine where their child is being educated in the current school year.

Will teachers have the resources to address the needs of their resident and out-of-district students?

Teachers will have the same materials and supports the district provided in the past. An increase enrollment will increase our revenue allowing the district to spend more on programming, materials and teachers.

How will this be communicated to families to know that this will not negatively impact the enrollment of those currently attending GISD schools?

We invite our current families to review all of the information the district shares about Open Enrollment. This FAQ is a response to questions raised by the families of our current GISD students.

Will this hurt parent involvement since families are living outside of GISD?

Families who participate in the open enrollment program have demonstrated their willingness to be involved in their child’s education by completing the enrollment process and transporting their students to a GISD school. Each campus will recruit these families to participate in all of their family engagement opportunities. Campuses currently use a variety of recruitment efforts to engage families who may not live close to the campus.