The Conroe ISD board of trustees met Tuesday afternoon for a special workshop meeting to discuss various district needs including updates to existing facilities, the 2018-19 budget and the potential of a future 2019 bond election. Following the workshop meeting, trustees convened for a special board meeting, during which they appointed two new administrators and approved property purchases.
Here are six takeaways from the June 5 meetings:
1. Flex 19 discussed as eight elementary schools estimated to reach overcapacity
Eight elementary school campuses have been identified to be at or above 100 percent capacity in the 2018-19 academic year. These campuses include Birnham Woods Elementary, Creighton Elementary, Giesinger Elementary, Glen Loch Elementary, Hailey Elementary, Oak Ridge Elementary, Powell Elementary and Ride Elementary schools.
District officials also discussed the upcoming K-6 campus, Flex 19—which will open in August 2019 near Hwy. 242 at the corner of Harpers School Road and Firehouse Lane—and how it could potentially relieve overcrowding at existing campuses in the Hwy. 242 corridor.
2. 2019 bond election discussed
Four years after voters approved a $487 million bond referendum in 2015, Conroe ISD officials are considering a bond election in 2019. A bond election is being considered in light of CISD recently breaking ground on the last two projects from the 2015 bond referendum, as well as the district’s need to alleviate overcrowding on multiple campuses.
Superintendent Curtis Null said the district is considering holding a bond election as early as May 2019 or November 2019. The district will complete a Facility Condition Assessment this summer and bring a presentation before trustees this September for amendment, approval or rejection. If approved, the district will form a Facility Planning Committee, which will meet between September and December before presenting their recommendations to trustees in December. If approved, trustees will call a May 2019 bond election in January.
3. Trustees discuss 2018-19 preliminary budget
CISD Chief Financial Officer Darrin Rice presented the preliminary 2018-19 academic budget. Highlights of the preliminary budget include a 2.5 percent salary increase for teachers—bringing the starting salary to $53,700—and a 3 percent salary increase for administrators, paraprofessionals and police officers.
Additionally, a $3.2 million expenditure for additional campus safety and security was included in the preliminary budget. Rice said the expenditure would fund three Conroe ISD Police Department leadership positions, equipment training and vehicles, as well as 46 additional officers to put on every campus in the district.
“The reality is even if this were approved, it would take two years to get to this point [in staff numbers],” Null said. “We could absolutely provide coverage to campuses with fewer [officers], but wanted to show you the full number and work from there.”
If Conroe ISD moves forward with this budget item, it would join the list of Houston area school districts that have pledged to increase safety and security measures in light of the school shootings at Santa Fe High School and Parkland, Fla. Additionally, on May 30, Gov. Greg Abbott laid out a school safety plan that could be up for vote in the future.
“Internally, we’re having all those conversations and looking at every option [for security] and [we] know that the legislator is going to weigh in 2019, as well,” Null said. “Whatever they ask us to do, we will do it but we’ll it well, whatever that is. But in the meantime we’re going to working toward what we feel like is the best way to secure our campuses.”
Special action meeting
4. Ted Landry named principal of The Woodlands High School
Trustees appointed Ted Landry, who currently serves as principal of Kingwood High School, to be the new principal of The Woodlands High School. Landry will fill the position of longtime The Woodlands High School principal Gregg Colschen, who was promoted in mid-May to the role of assistant superintendent of secondary education. Landry has been with Humble ISD for 16 years, serving as principal of Kingwood High School for six years and also as assistant principal and a guidance counselor.
Prior to working in Humble ISD, Landry worked as a guidance counselor at Conroe High School in the 2001-2002 academic year. Landry said that leaving Humble ISD is “bittersweet,” but that he’s looking forward to returning to Conroe ISD.
“Kingwood High School, where I am currently, and The Woodlands [High School] are very similar across the board in demographics, in success and in traditions, and I felt I would be a good fit for the position,” Landry said. “It’s just a tremendous opportunity for us to bring our family home to Conroe. Conroe was our first home in Texas, and to be able to come back to Conroe ISD is just awesome for us.”
5. Jamie Almond named principal of San Jacinto Elementary School
Trustees also appointed Jamie Almond to the role of principal of San Jacinto High School. Almond assistant principal at Broadway Elementary School for the last two years.
As the principal of San Jacinto Elementary School, Almond said she will focus on growing the campus’ literacy practices and building strong relationships with students, staff members and the community.
“I think I come from a very strong feeder system within Broadway [Elementary] and a very strong community, and I think I can take those skills to San Jacinto [Elementary],” Almond said.
6. District approves property purchases for future campus build-outs
Trustees approved the purchase of 18 acres and 62.7 acres of property in the Caney Creek Feeder Zone for the purpose of future district facilities.