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Coppell Chronicle Vol. 2, No. 13
People Worldwide Are Mad at Coppell ISD • School District Projected to Keep Growing • DART Project Leads to Road Closure • For Drainage’s Sake, Sheds May Have to Go
People Worldwide Are Mad at Coppell ISD
A student at Coppell Middle School North put a classmate in a chokehold recently. If you didn’t know that until now, I’m envious of how you navigate this modern life.
This May 11 incident was captured on video by another student, and that clip has since gone viral on social media. People around the world were outraged because the boy who got choked supposedly received a longer in-school suspension (ISS) than the boy who did the choking. Their outrage has been unleashed on any person or group associated with Coppell Middle School North or the Coppell Independent School District.
I have a publicly accessible post on my Facebook page touting the fact that I completed the Coppell ISD Education Foundation’s Run to Fund 5K. On Tuesday, a woman I don’t know jumped into the comments on my post with these questions:
“How much harder would it be to run if you were being choked and having your neck twisted? Can you imagine the outrage if you saw a video of that happening to your child? What is the rationale for 3 days ISS for the victim?”
This is how I responded: “I’ll answer your questions in order: 1: Very. 2: Yes. 3: I don’t know, because the discipline of children who don’t live in my house is none of my business.”
A lot of people disagree with my third answer; they feel the discipline of these two boys is very much their business. Their vitriol toward the school, the district, and its employees is so intense that Coppell ISD’s official social media accounts have been shuttered for the time being. The same goes for the Twitter accounts of Superintendent Brad Hunt and North Principal Greg Axelson.
One woman posted photos of herself talking about the incident to California Congressman Ro Khanna, for whatever reason. I’ve also seen people trying to induce engagement from Gov. Greg Abbott, President Joe Biden, Lady Gaga, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
The father of the boy who applied the chokehold has been repeatedly “doxed.” For the benefit of my readers who aren’t extremely online, that means people who are upset about the incident have shared his personal information, such as his home address. The mother of the other boy eventually posted a statement attributed to the two families’ attorneys that asked the public to “refrain from making and circulating incendiary comments, acts, or personal opinions.”
The superintendent issued two written statements about the incident last week. In the latter statement, he said, “Corrective action is taking place, which means that the district and CMS North are addressing any identified issues and gaps that occurred in the initial response to this incident.”
Hunt was a featured speaker at a Coppell Chamber of Commerce event on Thursday morning, and he tackled the controversy immediately: “Bullying is not acceptable in any form — physical or verbal. Any kind of physical aggression is never the answer. And so we want to make sure that, as a district, we’re not only addressing that incident but also moving forward from it and what we can do better and be better.”
He wrapped up those initial remarks with this: “I did just want to address that issue, and give assurance to the community that, yes, we are very much aware, and working to get that addressed and resolved, and owning the areas that we messed up on and didn’t follow through with, but also acknowledging ways that we can improve and do better.”
The Coppell ISD Board of Trustees’ monthly meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, and a protest is supposed to happen outside the district’s headquarters before the meeting. One of the organizers has promised it will be a peaceful protest. Let’s all hope that’s the case.
School District Projected to Keep Growing
I’m always fascinated by the reports that Coppell ISD receives from demographer Bob Templeton, and the latest one happened Monday during a Board of Trustees workshop. Among his key takeaways:
New home starts and closings declined significantly in 2021 due to the lack of available lots as well as shortages of supplies and labor.
The district has five subdivisions where homes are being built, and three others are in the planning stages.
Groundwork is underway on nearly 75 lots in one subdivision.
Although Coppell ISD has not quite gotten back to its pre-pandemic zenith of 13,218 students, Templeton expects the student body to surpass 13,700 kids by 2026. He said Coppell ISD and Sunnyvale ISD are outliers within Dallas County because their enrollment has grown in the last five years. He cited two factors for the declining enrollment in the rest of the county’s school districts: the expansion of charter schools and rising housing costs.
“Housing is getting so expensive in the urban areas that it is pushing out families further away to get to more affordable housing,” Templeton said. “That is, potentially, a challenge for Coppell as well, because the housing is continuing to go up at a really incredible rate.”
Templeton said the average price of a new home in Coppell ISD last year was $582,388, while the average price of an existing home was $514,177. He said that puts us on par with Southlake’s Carroll ISD and just a tick below Highland Park ISD.
“You’re definitely at some of the highest-priced housing in the DFW region,” he said.
Templeton highlighted a few of the areas where houses are still being built, such as the Blackberry Farm subdivision on Sandy Lake Road. When Templeton talked to the trustees last November, he said he expected the 74 homes in Blackberry Farm to sell for about $800,000. But on Monday, he said those prices will be at least $900,000, and any students living in those homes would most likely be teenagers as opposed to toddlers.
“These are not going to be first-time homes,” Templeton said. “These are move-up homes, for sure.”
At the other end of the economic spectrum, Templeton reported that Coppell ISD had 2,722 students living in multifamily housing as of March. The community producing the highest yield was the Townlake of Coppell apartment complex on North Moore Road, where the Koller family lived when we moved into the district. In March, its 398 apartments housed 337 students, or 0.85 students per unit. Next up was the Golden Triangle mobile-home park on South Coppell Road; its 135 units housed 112 students, or 0.83 students per unit. That’s double the average yield for the district’s multifamily housing.
When sharing data from the Texas Education Agency about transfers into and out of Coppell ISD, Templeton offered a couple of important disclaimers:
Although the TEA tracks the number of students who transfer from traditional school districts to charter schools, it does not provide any data on students who do the opposite.
Students are tracked solely by their home address, not their enrollment records. So some of the kids in the bottom chart may have never been Coppell ISD students.
“Unfortunately, the TEA’s help on the charter data is so weak that we do a lot of manually mining to try and get an understanding of the charters’ impacts,” Templeton said. “It’s very frustrating.”
In the end, Templeton said he expects people to keep moving here and to keep enrolling their children in Coppell ISD schools.
“Coppell is kind of a little bit of a gem,” he said. “It’s so close to the airport — it’s so close to so many things — that it’s going to keep you in a very high demand, because of the location and the quality of the housing, and the quality of what’s here right now.”
DART Project Leads to Road Closure
I learned via the City of Coppell’s latest newsletter that a portion of Southwestern Boulevard will be reduced to one-way traffic this summer due to DART’s Silver Line project. The lane closures between Denton Tap and Coppell roads are scheduled to begin May 31 and last through mid-August.
This will undoubtedly inconvenience the residents of Bullock and Howell drives, the two streets due west of Dairy Queen. Anyone who lives on or near Plantation Drive — which was recently reopened to two-way traffic after several months of construction — can surely relate.
I couldn’t find any mention of these upcoming lane closures on the Silver Line website, but I did notice that the next community meeting for Coppell residents is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on June 2 at George Coffee + Provisions. See you there?
For Drainage’s Sake, Sheds May Have to Go
Mayor Wes Mays recently summed up an upcoming city project by saying, “This is not going to be fun.” Some residents of the Northlake Woodlands subdivision will likely agree with that assessment.
The project involves the Arbor Brook Channel, which runs between Arbor Brook Lane and Leavalley Lane. Ideally, storm water gets diverted to the channel, which carries it to Grapevine Creek. That’s how things worked before homes were built along the channel in the late 1970s.
However, the channel is not conveying storm water as easily as it once did. Assistant Director of Public Works Mike Garza said that may be due to the variety of sheds, fences, and retaining walls that have been built along it.
“There’s all kinds of things that have been installed in that drainage easement over the last 40-plus years that have potentially caused conveyance issues of this channel,” Garza told the City Council during their May 10 work session.
The city has a 20-foot drainage and utility easement along the channel. As city staffers recently walked the property, Garza said, they noticed that some homeowners have even installed their own underground drainage systems.
“Forty-plus years of unknown things are back there that we’re going to try to uncover and figure out how best we can address this,” he said.
Although the plat and development requirements for the neighborhood do say the individual homeowners are responsible for maintaining all of its open ditches and channels, Garza said that responsibility does not include building or maintaining infrastructure.
“It’s more of making sure there’s no debris, there’s no buildup, that they mow the areas, that they don’t throw their grass clippings or bags of leaves and dump them in this area,” he said.
Garza displayed this set of photos and said the one on the left is as close to ideal as he could find, given the buildup of trees and silt over the years. The one on the right? Not so much.
Regarding this next slide, the mayor asked where the city’s easement begins. Garza said it’s right up to edge of that concrete pad on the right.
Coincidentally, there’s a sanitary sewer system along the channel that Garza said needs to be replaced. It’s made of 1970s-era clay pipe, some of which has become exposed due to erosion. The city has commissioned a consultant to design some options for solving both issues, and those options will be presented to the City Council at a future meeting.
In the meantime, Garza and his team will schedule meetings with up to 70 homeowners to discuss how their properties may be impacted. I made contact on Saturday with two women who live at the south end of Arbor Brook Lane, and both said I was breaking this news to them.
Garza’s voicemail account may be full by the time he gets to work tomorrow.
• The Coppell Cowboys varsity baseball team was down 2-1 in the final inning of their playoff series with the Prosper Eagles on Saturday, but they came back to win 3-2. Next up is a regional semifinals matchup with the dreaded and feared Carroll Dragons from Southlake. A schedule for that series was not immediately available.
• Saturday was a grim day for the Coppell Police Department, which had to issue statements about two untimely deaths. One was about a 19-year-old woman who died in a traffic accident. The other concerned a 11-year-old boy whose parents discovered his body in their home.
• Coppell ISD and Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD have certified the results of their recent elections. In Coppell ISD, Anthony Hill received 64.6 percent of the votes cast to fend off challenger Carol Lacey McGuire. In Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, newcomers Ileana Garza-Rojas (23.4 percent) and Kim Brady (22.6 percent) received the most votes among the five candidates competing for three seats. Incumbent Tara Hrbacek earned the final one with 22.2 percent, edging fellow incumbent Randy Schackman by half a percentage point.
• Tuesday is Election Day for the primary runoffs, and the polls will be open from 7 to 7. Democrats who reside in the Dallas County portion of Coppell have decisions to make in eight campaigns (sample ballot), while Republicans will finalize only three competitions (sample ballot).
• The Metrocrest Resale store is in desperate need of volunteers. Teens as young as 13 can volunteer if accompanied by a parent. Hey, I have a 13-year-old with plenty of idle time on his hands.
• The City of Coppell has placed signs like this one all over town to congratulate the Class of 2022. If you know any graduating seniors, be on the hunt for their names.
Red Cross blood drive: You can donate blood between noon and 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Rejoice Lutheran Church.
St. Ann Family First 5K: St. Ann Parish will host its second annual 5K and fun run on Saturday at Andrew Brown Park East.
Coppell 5K: The 13th annual race is scheduled for June 25 at Andrew Brown Park East. Proceeds help Coppell Special Olympics athletes with uniforms, letter jackets, and equipment. Early pricing continues through May 29.
Locally Sourced: June 13 is the entry deadline for this Coppell Creatives exhibit that will be displayed from June 21 through July 17.