Hollywood Santa Monica (HSM) is somewhat of an anomaly when it comes to our neighborhood. The conservation district is zoned to Lakewood Elementary, even though there are three elementary schools that are geographically closer. The area is in zip code 75223, and is in Dallas ISD’s Trustee District 9, while its children go to schools in District 2, which are all in zip code 75214.

When HSM residents vote for a Dallas ISD trustee, some neighbors feel their votes do not have an impact on the schools where their students attend, and want to change zip codes so that they can make an argument to be included in District 2. The HSM newsletter reads, “Our neighborhood does not have a voice in electing the DISD Trustee who represents our zoned public schools as we are in DISD Trustee District 9. Changing our zip code will help us argue that we should be in DISD district 2 when DISD Trustee boundaries are redrawn.”

Dallas ISD’s trustee boundaries do not follow high school feeder patterns, and HSM’s situation is a common one. Kramer Elementary and the surrounding neighborhood is in District 1, but feeds into Hillcrest High School in District 2. District 8, whose awkward shape includes the Mount Auburn Elementary neighborhood adjacent to HSM, contains no high schools at all, so all of its constituents, which includes at least 14 elementary schools, are in the same situation as the HSM residents. The trustee districts do not reflect high school feeder pattern boundaries to keep demographic balance between the districts.

Zip codes rarely change, and but the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) reviews the designations regularly to see if a change needs to be made. Usually, a density change in a certain area can prompt a zip code realignment. Communities can also request changes based on “community identity concerns.” The process requires the community to make a written request with justification to the USPS. If the request is approved by several layers of USPS bureaucracy, officials take a survey of the affected area to make sure the majority of the community supports the zip code change. If the neighborhood approves, the zip code change should go through.

Neighbors would have to change subscriptions, credit cards and stationary, but at least some think it be worth it to give them more of a voice in school board elections. Time will tell if most neighbors want the change, or what impact it will have on other neighborhoods in Dallas in a similar predicament.

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