Preliminary proposal would result in a 4 cent tax increase, if voters approve
They started with a list of more than $1.2 billion in short and long-term needs for the Clear Creek School District, but after four months, numerous tours and exhaustive document reviews, a special citizens committee has ranked $499 million worth of projects as the highest and immediate priorities to meet the district’s growth, safety, and technology needs for the next three to five years.
The CCISD Citizens Facility Advisory Committee made its preliminary recommendations to the Board of Trustees on Monday, Jan. 9, recognizing that this is the first step towards a final number.
“Our committee members come from all over the district,” said Trent Martin, committee chairman, during the board presentation. “We feel this is what the school district needs. Now we want to go out and see what the public feels about the items.” Depending on public input, the committee may revise its recommendation before making a final presentation to the school board in February.
Due to school overcrowding, especially in League City, the committee is recommending the construction of Elementary school No. 27 in the western part of League City. The land for the School has already been donated to CCISD by developer Travis Campbell. The school, if approved by voters, will be located along League City Parkway.
“Right now, Hall Elementary is over capacity and there is no more room for portables,” Deputy Superintendent Paul McLarty said. “Enrollment projections has Hall Elementary well over 1,000 students by 2020 and the school was built for 700 students.” To relieve overcrowding at other schools and remove portable buildings, the recommendation calls for the expansion of Stewart Elementary, Creekside Intermediate and Clear Lake Intermediate.
The committee’s preliminary recommendation not only addresses the need for new schools and expansions, but also ensures aging schools are brought up to today’s learning standards.
Under this proposal, League City Elementary, constructed in 1960, and Clear View High School, originally built in 1939 as Webster High School, would be completely rebuilt on land behind both dilapidated schools. Major improvements would be in order for schools that are 50 years and older such as Clear Lake City Elementary, Ross Elementary, Ed White Elementary and Whitcomb Elementary.
It is not just aging schools either. The committee overwhelmingly agreed the district must purchase 75 new school buses to replace a fleet of buses that are upwards of 25 years old and with mileage over 250,000 each.
Due to the lack of space, CCISD turns away approximately 200 students who apply to attend the district’s Science Magnet program at Seabrook Intermediate. Under this proposal, Brookside Intermediate in Friendswood would be expanded so the district can launch a second Science Magnet. “Science Exploration and experimentation are key hallmarks of the CCISD experience,” said Superintendent Dr. Greg Smith.
“If we can duplicate the successful science magnet program on the other side of the school district, we will be in a better position to serve more kids and keep that interest in science going.”
Maintaining and replacing elementary school playgrounds have long been the responsibility of PTAs. Under this bond proposal, the school district will take over the costs associated with replacements of these large structures with an allotment of $2.65 million. Essentially, PTAs will no longer carry the financial burden for playgrounds.
The committee’s preliminary recommendation calls for $499 million in improvements, likely sought through a voter-approved bond election in May 2017. The recommendation equates to a 4 cent increase on the tax rate or a $7.44 per month increase of property taxes on a median-priced home.
The current tax rate in CCISD is $1.40 per $100 valuation, significantly lower than in 2005 when it was $1.77 per $100 valuation. Homeowners 65 years and older would not be impacted by a tax rate increase as their property taxes are frozen by law.
The committee readily admits this is a preliminary recommendation and revisions will likely be made following public input over the next several weeks through public meetings and a phone survey. Based on that input, the committee may revise its recommendations prior to making a final recommendation to the Board of Trustees in February.
“We called on a diverse group of citizens to bring forward a recommendation that will ensure this high performing school district continues to provide physical learning environments that meet the community’s needs while maintaining the district’s fiscally responsible position,” said Dr. Laura DuPont, school board president. “We thank them for the countless hours they volunteered and their willingness to seek public input before a final proposal is presented later in February.” To view the entire recommendation, click here or visit www.ccisd.net.