By Mary Alys Cherry
The Clear Creek School District is doing quite well these days, and Superintendent Greg Smith hopes you’ll allow him to brag a little.
“This school year, our students will break academic records, our school district will break ground on exciting bond projects, and we will once again break the previous year’s enrollment records,” he told the Clear Lake Area Chamber at its monthly luncheon at Landry’s in Kemah.
And who gets the credit?
“All of this is only possible through the continuing support of this great community, which spans 13 cities, 2 counties and 100 square miles,” he said, adding, “Our work together has benefitted more than 40,000 students, and we have just begun.”
Noting that the schools rated well above the state standard and that CCISD is home to 38 National Merit Scholarship finalists, he feels these are “strong indicators that we have the right team on board, a dedicated community and some absolutely talented students who shine in and outside the classroom everyday in their own special way.
88 PERCENT APPROVE
“I am not the only one who feels this way,” he said. “In a 2013 survey of the community at-large, more than 88 percent of the taxpayers said CCISD is doing a great job in preparing students for the future and 9 out of 10 parents feel welcome at their child’s school.”
And, Dr. Smith is quite proud of this, as well he should be.
“Frankly, what our local community thinks of us is what matters most,” he told the chamber. It is why hundreds of families move to our area every year. CCISD continues to grow in enrollment. This school year we broke the 40,000 mark for student enrollment. Based on a recent demographic report, CCISD is projected to top 41,000 students by 2016.
“Based on home construction and best projections, we will be at ‘build-out’ in 2023 with more than 43,600 students. This data will help us determine when and if we will need to adjust school boundaries in the future. At this time, we do not see a need to adjust school boundaries for the next two years.”
He also gave a rundown of proposed bond projects and how the district has been able to rework the $367 million bond financing plan which may save taxpayers upwards of $50 million or two cents less on the tax rate.
“Under the new financing plan, we project the tax rate increase will be closer to 9 cents versus 11 cents. CCISD is consistently watching the interest market and refinances debt at lower rates no different than people do on their own homes. Over the last ten years, these efforts have led to almost $36 million in interest savings for taxpayers.”
The opportunity exists within our community today to effect the change we often talk about but somehow find hard to achieve. It means forming a partnership, he explained. “We cannot do it alone. We need our parents, businesses, community and legislative leaders to continue to partner with us to positively impact the lives of children. After all, the success of any community is measured by the success of its students.”