The Fort Bend ISD Board says it will not be moving forward with the high school portion of boundary changes that have drawn criticism throughout the district.\.

In a Jan. 18 letter to parents, Superintendent Charles Dupre explained that the board was going to be asked to approve the recommended high school boundary change. Instead, the district will present a plan to keep attendance boundaries the same for the next two school years as well as expedite plans for construction of another high school.

Tensions have been high as anxious Fort Bend ISD parents waited for the district to finalize plans for large-scale re-zoning and new programs planned for Willowridge, Marshall and Hightower HighSchools. Last October, administrators promised “innovative new programs” for students at Marshall and Willowridge High Schools, which have lower enrollment and lack popular academy programs that currently thrive at other campuses.

At the Jan. 15 board of trustees meeting, several trustees expressed concerns about how the continued rezoning was affecting students and communities, as well as the need for FBISD to provide a more long-term strategy for high school programming and utilization of buildings.

“Our decision to withdraw our recommendation for high school attendance boundary changes at this time is based on several factors, including the identification of a site for building High School 12 and the board’s desire to take immediate action to secure the site,” Dupre wrote in the email. “This provides a more clear path forward and will enable the drawing of boundaries for the new high school and minimize the disruption to students of rezoning to balance enrollment and rezoning again to open High School 12.”

In addition to asking the trustees to approve the recommended attendance boundaries for Malala Yousafzai Elementary on Jan. 22, the district will also seek approval to negotiate the purchase of an 80-acre tract of land for High School 12. It will also give insight into options that may enable the district to open the new high school two years ahead of schedule.