Lancaster Independent School District

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Lancaster Independent School District
DallasCounty LancasterISD.png
Location of Lancaster ISD in Dallas County
Lancaster, Texas, USA
Type Public
Enrollment 6,234 (2006-2007)
Superintendent Dr. Michael D. McFarland

Lancaster Independent School District is a public school district based in Lancaster, Texas (USA). The district serves most of the city of Lancaster and a small portion of the city of Hutchins.

In 2010, the school district was rated "academically acceptable" by the Texas Education Agency.[1]


High School (Grades 9-12)[edit]

Middle School (Grades 7-8)[edit]

  • Elsie Robertson Lancaster Middle School STEM Engagement Center

Elementary Schools (Grades PK-5)[edit]

  • Belt Line Elementary School (opened fall 2006; formerly Lancaster Intermediate)
  • Houston Elementary School
  • Lancaster Elementary School (opened fall 2006; formerly Lancaster Junior High)
  • Pleasant Run Elementary School
  • Rolling Hills Elementary School
  • Rosa Parks/Millbrook Elementary School
  • West Main Elementary School


The district is led by a Superintendent as well as a seven-member Board of Trustees. The Superintendent is appointed by the Board of Trustees as its Chief Executive Officer.[2] The current Superintendent, Michael McFarland, was appointed in 2010 after Inter Superintendent Dr. Dana Marable. 2011.[3]

Members of the Board of Trustees are elected from seven single-member districts[4] to serve staggered three-year terms. The Board’s main responsibilities include funding the maintenance and operation of district schools, approving district personnel, submitting bond issues to voters for the construction of school facilities, and general management of the district. School Board elections take place in May.[2]

  • LISD Board of Trustees (Current Term)
    • District 1 – Marion Hamilton(2009–2012)
    • District 2 – Cynthia Corbin-Jarvis(2009–2012)
    • District 3 – Jeff Melcher (2010-2013)
    • District 4 – Irene Mejia (2008–2011)
    • District 5 – Joe Kana (2008–2011)
    • District 6 – Marjorie King (2007–2010)
    • District 7 – Ellen Clark (2009-2011)

District History[edit]

Early years[edit]

The history of education in Lancaster dates back to 1846. That year, the first school – housed in a one-room log cabin – opened in the area. A tuition of ten cents per student per day was the initial teacher pay. In 1857, the first frame school house was built near the present-day intersection of Jefferson and Third Streets. It was private and tuition based. A school tax was instituted in 1869.

The Lancaster ISD Administration Building and former High School campus (1923-1965) on 422 South Centre Avenue.

Creation of LISD[edit]

In 1902, citizens petitioned for a bond and tax election to be held for the purpose of constructing a public school building. The Lancaster Independent School District was established in 1905. The William L. White School opened that same year, serving students in grades 1-12. A new high school located on Centre Avenue (site of the current administration building) opened in 1923. Lancaster High School was accepted to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1929, becoming the first such in Dallas County to receive this designation.

Growth and change[edit]

Lancaster's population began to rise significantly during the 1950s. Three schools were built during this period to accommodate the growing number of students. The first, Lancaster Elementary (present-day West Main Elementary) opened in 1951. Pleasant Run Elementary and Rocky Crest Elementary, a campus for African-Americans, both opened in 1955. In 1965, Lancaster High School moved to another location – 822 West Pleasant Run Road. This was followed two years later by the opening of Houston Elementary. Houston became the first school in Lancaster to have a Kindergarten program.

In 1970, Lancaster Middle School was built at 1005 Westridge Avenue to house the district's 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. The name of Lancaster High School was officially changed to Lancaster Elsie Robertson High School in 1980 to honor Elsie Robertson, a teacher who had served Lancaster students for 47 years. Lancaster Intermediate School (currently Belt Line Elementary) opened in 1984 to serve 5th and 6th graders. Three additional campuses opened in the late 1980s – Millbrook (now Rosa Parks/Millbrook) Elementary in 1986, Rolling Hills Elementary in 1989, and Lancaster Junior High in 1989.

As the city and the district continued to grow, it began to diversify. The percentage of European-American students in the district fell below 50% during the 1992-1993 school year. At the same time, there was a significant increase in the number of African-American students. By the 1995-1996 school year, a majority of Lancaster ISD students were African-American. These trends – a declining number of European-American students, an increasing number of African-American students as well as a slower, but steadily growing number of Hispanic students continue to this date. Hispanics displaced European-Americans as the district's largest minority group in the 2001-2002 school year.

Recent history[edit]

In 2005 Larry Lewis, superintendent of the district, said that the affluence within some students in the district lead to apathy regarding school performance. Lewis said "Johnny has his own room, his own computer, his own DVD player, his own XBox, his own everything, but he brings home C's and F's. He'll eventually get his own car, and he thinks life is going to be that way the rest of his life. His priorities aren't what they should be."[5]

Wilmer-Hutchins merger proposal[edit]

When the Texas Education Agency asked for birds to take over the troubled Wilmer-Hutchins Independent School District in mid-2005, Lancaster ISD was given the first offer. Lancaster school board trustees rejected the proposal and the Dallas Independent School District eventually agreed to educate Wilmer-Hutchins students [1].

2006 grade & school reconfiguration[edit]

The district approved a plan to reconfigure grades served at each school, which took effect at the beginning of the 2006-2007 school year. Under the old system, elementary schools served grades pre-kindergarten through four, the intermediate school served grades five and six, the junior high grades seven and eight, and the high school grades nine through twelve.

The new system abolished the need for an intermediate campus by moving fifth graders to elementary schools and sixth graders to the middle school. The district's intermediate and junior high schools were converted into two elementary campuses - Belt Line Elementary and Lancaster Elementary, respectively.

The grade reconfiguration coincided with the opening of a new high school at 200 East Wintergreen Road. The old high school campus now houses the district's middle school.

Also, a new and larger Houston Elementary School campus opened to accommodate growth in the northern portion of Lancaster.

Proposed schedule change[edit]

On Wednesday August 1, 2007 Lancaster ISD officials have withdrawn its request with the state of Texas to launch a 4-day school week until the 2008-09 school year.[6] This proposal was made on Monday July 16, 2007 in an effort to save $1.8 Million. This would also mean longer weekends for students, but in order for this to work, students would have to stay in school for up to 2 extra hours Monday-Thursday. Since the proposal was made, it drew some criticism.[7] Superintendent Larry Lewis said that the district will not face a shortfall if the state didn't approve the 4-day school week proposal, however Lancaster ISD will have a reserve of only $971,000 to handle unexpected expenses.[8]

Student demographics[edit]

Lancaster ISD student demographic figures as of the 2006-2007 school year:


African American 4,881 78.3%
Hispanic 1,105 17.7%
European-American 227 3.6%
Native American 10 0.2%
Asian 11 0.2%
Total 6,234 100.0%

School uniforms[edit]

All Lancaster ISD students are required to wear school uniforms [2].

Pre-Kindergarteners and Elementary schoolers may wear:

  • Red, White, and Blue solid polo shirts, turtlenecks, vests, and sweatshirts
  • Solid color jackets and windbreakers
  • White Oxford shirts
  • Khaki and Navy blue bottoms and Black slacks

Middle schoolers may wear:

  • Gray, White, and Yellow solid polo shirts and turtlenecks, vests, and sweatshirts
  • Solid color jackets and windbreakers
  • White Oxford shirts
  • Khaki, Black, and Navy blue bottoms (Skorts and Capris are not allowed)

High schoolers may wear:

  • White, Orange, and Black solid polo shirts and turtlenecks
  • White, Orange, Gray, and Black solid vests, and sweatshirts
  • Solid color jackets and windbreakers
  • White Oxford shirts
  • Khaki, Black, Navy blue, and Orange slacks (Capris are not allowed)
  • Khaki, Black, Navy blue, Orange, and White shorts and skirts (Skorts are not allowed)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2010 Accountability Rating System". Texas Education Agency. 
  2. ^ a b "Board of Trustees: Information". Lancaster Independent School District. Retrieved 2008-05-25. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Superintendent Larry Lewis given contract extension". Focus Daily News. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  4. ^ "Board Member Districts (Map)" (PDF). Lancaster Independent School District. Retrieved 2008-05-25. [dead link]
  5. ^ Booth, Herb. "Black elite faces school-choice dilemma." The Dallas Morning News. Monday June 27, 2005. Retrieved on November 26, 2011.
  6. ^ WFAA-TV/The Dallas Morning News - August 01, 2007. "Lancaster's 4-day school plan on hold for now."
  7. ^ WFAA-TV - July 19, 2007. "LISD asks state for four-day school weeks."
  8. ^ WFAA-TV/The Dallas Morning News - July 28, 2007. "Lancaster ISD chief foresees no shortfall."

External links[edit]