Before school boundaries set, some homework
Redrawing school boundaries is to school board members as taking TAKS is to students. There's a lot of prep work involved, even more dread, and woe unto you if you blow it.
With a new high school and a new intermediate school opening next year south of the Kemah Bridge, Clear Creek ISD board members are already prepping for a decision next spring on who will move from Clear Lake High School, who will leave Creek and whether to leave Brook alone as Lake clears out a bit. And then there are the intermediate schools.
A School Boundary Advisory Committee should be in place by Oct. 1, so this week the Clear Creek School Board heard a report on district demographics and preliminary enrollment projections for the coming decade.
Some of the more interesting highlights of the study by Templeton Demographics and MetroStudy, at least if you're a geek or a school board member:
This fall 37,500 students attend Clear Creek schools. Over the last six years, student enrollment has been increasing about 2.5 percent a year, about 800 students a year, but growth is slowing along with housing construction. By the time the district hits 43,000 students 10 years from now, it will only be adding about 300 students a year.
Currently Clear Creek's intermediate schools are under the most pressure as far as student population goes. Those adolescent boomers, however, will be headed to high school in the next few years, and there are more kids enrolled from kindergarten through third grade this year than anytime in recent history.
The schools where there are already growing capacity concerns despite a flurry of school openings over the last few years: Gilmore Elementary, Greene Elementary, Hall Elementary, Landolt Elementary, Mossman Elementary -- yep, the one that opened this year -- and Space Center Intermediate. The study predicted the new high school will alleviate worries about Lake and Brook for a while, but there's some concern that around 2016, Brook might be getting overcrowded.
The district will never return to the days when it could count on 1,400 homes a year under construction. The economy's slower, the lending rules are tighter and the vacant lots available for housing construction are scarcer. But there are still 2,500 acres of vacant land in the district. It comes as no surprise that League City will see the most growth as the economy slowly comes back, in the southwest corner of the district south of FM 518 and the southeast corner of the district off of Highway 96. There's also a potential hot spot just south of Baybrook Mall. From another angle, here are the elementary schools that pull from neighborhoods with the most lots available for construction: Weber, Hall, Parr, Goforth and Mossman.
What about schools whose neighborhoods no longer have vacant lots available for home construction over the next decade? Neighborhoods feeding elementary schools like Bayou, Clear Lake City, Greene, Ward and Whitcomb? Will their enrollments shrink? Should their boundaries be redrawn so students come from more crowded schools farther away? Should they house students in some of the district's special programs? Not so fast. As residents age -- how can we put this delicately? -- they'll move off to nursing homes or die, and in the more affordable of these neighborhoods, younger families will move in. Families with kids. Taxpayers with no over-65 exemptions. Clear Creek ISD, the next generation.
Local Advertising by PaperG