School boundary proposal gets a tweak
After five public hearings that have drawn hundreds of passionate parents and students, Clear Creek's School Boundary Advisory Committee is making only one change to the neighborhoods east of the Gulf Freeway now feeding into Parr Elementary -- subdivisions like Centerpoint, Victory Lakes and Nottingham Country -- learned they'd be attending the brand new Clear Springs High School instead of Clear Creek High School. The new school had no varsity sports programs going in, of course, no booster clubs, no parent-teachers organizations.
"We asked these kids and their parents to take ownership of this school and make it a success," Wilson said. "They jumped in with both feet. So now how do you tell them to go somewhere else next year and be happy about it?"
But Wilson told about 100 people at Wednesday night's meeting at Clear Springs that it wasn't up to the advisory committee to decide just how how to handle the Clear Springs students' request for transfers. That's up to the school board, which plans to take up the committee's recommendations when it meets Jan. 11. The school board hopes to make a decision about boundaries on Jan. 25, but could leave transfers for school principals to decide as they usually do on a case-by-case basis.
The problem with exempting Clear Springs' youngest students, Wilson said, is that the committee was uncomfortable making recommendations that wouldn't apply district-wide.
Some of those who attended the final public hearing on boundary changes, in fact, asked that all students already in high school have the option of staying where they are.
But some of the parents who spoke up on behalf of Clear Springs' youngest students said they were special cases deserving exemptions because they already had their high school switched on them three years ago.
"We gave our pound of flesh," said Nottingham resident Bonnie Pritchett.
Lisa May, a resident of Oaks of Clear Creek -- another neighborhood rezoned from Springs to Creek -- said it wouldn't be right to force kids to adjust to another change just to even out enrollment numbers among high schools.
"They are not numbers on a spreadsheet," she said. "They are children that we love."
One parent suggested that decision-makers would be wise to take into account how the kids feel about leaving their comfort zones, because their emotional well-being affects how hard they try on tests that affect their schools' ratings.
A couple of parents objected that using the Gulf Freeway as a divider between Springs and Brook would hurt the schools' socio-economic diversity.
Several parents tearfully pointed out that having two children at different high schools would be a strain. Transportation, especially for after-school activities, would be difficult, and younger kids were upset at the prospect of heading off to a different school than their older siblings.
One single mom said her son told her, "I have a dream. A dream to perform in the same band as my brother."
Wilson said that students' resistance is understandable, but action has to be taken now so that these kinds of wrenching changes don't have to be done again for years to come.
Although the Clear Springs rezoning has stirred up the most controversy, the proposed changes affect 3,100 students.
Here are the proposed boundary maps for the eight schools whose borders would change if approved by the school board:
Clear Falls High School
Clear Lake High School
Clear Creek High School
Clear Springs High School
Clear Brook High School
League City Intermediate
Victory Lakes Intermediate
Next up: Possible boundary changes to address increasingly uneven enrollments at the intermediate schools.
Local Advertising by PaperG