CCISD approves $487 million bond election
The Clear Creek Independent School District Board of Trustees has called for a $487 million bond election to take place Saturday, May 6.
If approved by voters, the bond program would allow the district to build new schools or permanently increase the capacity of existing schools due to overcrowding; rebuild or renovate schools between 40 and 50 years old; repair or replace elementary playgrounds; purchase new school buses; and expand the district’s science magnet program for intermediate students to a second location.
“Thank you to everyone who served on the committee and gave much of their time and effort to bring this proposal forward to the community,” said Dr. Laura DuPont, CCISD board president. “The committee incorporated public input and presented a plan to accommodate enrollment growth and maintain schools for the next five years as we asked them to.”
The unanimous vote on Monday, Feb. 13, capped a community-driven effort to analyze and prioritize the school district’s $1.2 billion in facility and capital needs. Prior to taking action, the school board further reduced the CCISD Facility Advisory Committee’s $494 million recommendation to $487 million. If approved, the bond would result in a $0.035 tax rate increase. This would equate to a $5.47 per month increase for a homeowner of a median home valued at $223,635.
“Clear Creek ISD is a destination for families in search of a quality education,” said Dr. Greg Smith, CCISD superintendent of schools. “I thank those who have been actively involved in this process.”
Contents of the school bond package were prioritized by a 30-member facility committee consisting of parents, local citizens, business leaders and educators. Over the course of several months, the Citizens Facility Advisory Committee studied a district-wide facility assessment, enrollment projections, and district financial information as well as toured schools. The committee used this information and input from the public to finalize its recommendation.
The proposed bond will touch the majority of CCISD facilities in some capacity. The proposed bond will address:
Schools for growth: $72.9 Million
Clear Creek ISD’s student enrollment was at nearly 42,000 students in 2016. Third-party projections have the district growing an additional 2,100 students by 2021. Currently, ten elementary schools and four intermediate schools are at, or over, instructional capacity.
• Build the district’s 27th elementary school along Highway 96 in League City
• Remove portables and replace them with permanent additions at Stewart Elementary, Creekside Intermediate and Clear Lake Intermediate
Aging schools and repairs: $333.4 Million
Six schools in the district are more than 50 years old and two are more than 40 years old. This bond proposal would allow for two school rebuilds and significant renovations and technology upgrades to six. Forty schools and CCISD facilities would receive priority repairs.
• Rebuild of League City Elementary (‘60) and Clear View High School (‘39)
• Major renovations and site improvements to Clear Lake City Elementary (’65), Ed White Elementary (’65), Ross Elementary (‘65), Whitcomb Elementary (‘67), Hall Elementary (’79), and Landolt Elementary (’79)
• Major renovations and site improvements at Main Bus Transportation Center (’69)
• Thirty-nine CCISD schools and facilities would receive priority repairs
Safety improvements: $20.8 Million
The bond proposal would address playground safety, upgrade security cameras, and replace school buses that are between 15-25 years old.
• Replace 75 school buses with more than 200,000 miles
• Fund an elementary playground replacement and repair program
• Replace analog with digital surveillance cameras and intrusion detection equipment
• Reconfigure areas of Armand Bayou Elementary
Student programs: $23.1 Million
Every year, 200 intermediate school students are turned away from the district’s science magnet program at Seabrook Intermediate due to space limitations. This bond would allow the district to open a second site. The bond proposal would also include additions and equipment replacements for certain programs.
• Science labs and classrooms at Brookside Intermediate for a second science magnet
• Fine Arts expansions and renovations at Clear Creek High School, Clear Creek Intermediate, League City Intermediate and Space Center Intermediate
• Music instrument replacement and equipment for fine arts and athletics
Technology: $31.8 Million
The following improvements are proposed to maintain the district’s technology systems:
• Upgrade network and server equipment
• Replace teacher computers and student computer labs
• Purchase and install ceiling mounted projectors for classrooms
• Replace district telephone system
*Note: The $487 million referendum includes 1 percent for project management and bond issuance costs.
Visit www.ccisd.net/bond2017 for more information.
Following community outcry, a Council vote on whether or not to move forward with a proposed subsidized apartment complex in the South Belt community has been placed on hold for a week while city officials review the development.
The delay in the vote was a result of input from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, along with City Council members Dwight Boykins and Dave Martin, who all seemed receptive to resident concerns expressed at a private meeting held at City Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 14.
If approved The Kirkway would be located on the north side of Beltway 8 between Beamer and Sabo. The facility would cater to seniors only.
The complex is one of two such developments out of six that were initially proposed for the South Belt area that are still in consideration by city officials, whose recommendations carry significant weight. The second complex, Stonebrook Manor, would be located at the southeast corner of the Gulf Freeway and Kurland Drive near Fuqua.
The Kirkway development was originally scheduled to go before City Council for approval Wednesday, Feb. 15, but was red-tagged for the following week after being met with fierce opposition from multiple community groups.
Opposing the development are the Kirkwood Civic Club (the closest subdivision to the proposed complex), the Sagemont Civic Club, the Sagemont Park Community Improvement Association, the South Belt-Ellington Chamber of Commerce and the Leader.
While the same groups have been opposed to similar family projects in the past, citing the high concentration of existing subsidized complexes already in the community, they have generally been supportive of senior-only facilities. In fact, the same groups have thrown their support behind the Stonebrook Manor (located roughly one mile away), which would also cater specifically to senior citizens. The organizations also supported the senior-only Heritage Pointe complex on Almeda Genoa near Gulf Palms (located 1.7 miles away from proposed Kirkway complex), but that development has been withdrawn from city consideration, as have three others, including one near Almeda Mall and two across from the future Dobie ninth-grade campus near Fuqua and Monroe.
Critics of the Kirkway development contend its proposed location and proximity to Beltway 8 pose a potential safety threat to its senior inhabitants, who would be forced to walk along the busy beltway frontage road, which is currently lacking portions of sidewalk.
Conversely, the proposed Stonebrook Manor complex would be located immediately adjacent to the METRO South Point Park & Ride on Kurland, making transportation easier and safer for senior residents.
Added traffic is a second concern, as the beltway feeder road routinely backs up throughout the day. An entrance to the Kirkwood subdivision at Beltway 8 and Kirkglen was permanently sealed off a few years back following multiple automobile accidents at the intersection, including one in which a car drove through a residence.
“We love our seniors, and we just want what’s best for them,” said Leader publisher South Belt-Ellington Chamber of Commerce Chair Marie Flickinger. “If we’re going to put one in, why not put it where it will have the most benefit for the community and apartment residents?”
While The Kirkway project has been met with sharp criticism, it is not without its proponents, as its developer told city officials he has the support of Sagemont Church.
City officials – including Tom McCasland, director of the city’s Housing and Community Development Department and City Council members Boykins and Martin– are scheduled to tour the proposed site Friday, Feb. 17.
Flickinger is confident they will recognize the property’s potential hazards once they see it firsthand. “I appreciate them coming out to look at it,” Flickinger said. “Once they see it, they’ll realize it’s not the best place for it to be.” (See next week’s Leader for more information.)
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