Parents divided over proposed site for new Richardson ISD school

Parents with picket signs showed their concerns over a Richardson ISD elementary school that hasn't been built yet.

All of the parents agree White Rock Elementary school is overcrowded and that a new school is necessary. But some believe the proposed site for the new school isn't safe. And that's not their only concern.

Those opposing the proposed site at the intersection of Walnut Hill and White Rock Trail say safety is a huge concern and list several other concerns, like neighborhood traffic and attendance boundaries.

But those supporting the school say the opposition is made of a few loud voices that don't represent the community. They are calling themselves, “We Need a School.”

Those opposed call themselves "We have a Voice" and point out the chosen site is off a DART track with a nearby DART ramp. The group says the proposed site is precariously close to a busy intersection, has limited access and is too small at only four acres.

Those opposed say a 1978 deed restriction on the piece of land, which is in the city of Dallas, prohibits the district from building a school there.

"The deed restriction specifically says that the commercial use for the property is limited to three things and only three things,” said Rahul Yohd. “And a school is not one of those things.”

“There's been concerns in the past about traffic and other situations around school developments,” said Nathan Jacks. “And it hasn't been an issue once the school got built.”

Supporters acknowledge the challenges of the proposed site but say immediately addressing overcrowding is a must. They point to the Lake Highlands Freshman Center, which was also met with opposition in 1996, but eventually became a point of pride for the district.

The district needs to get its demolition and building permits from the city of Dallas in order to stay on track to open the school in August of 2018.