Conroe ISD will soon add five new schools, including four in the Oak Ridge High School feeder zone, after its board of trustees voted to place a $487 million bond referendum—one that does not include a tax increase—on the Nov. 3 election ballot, Superintendent Don Stockton said.
The district initially considered a $511 million school bond after a committee spent much of the past year studying the district’s facility needs. However, Stockton said the district has retained about $25 million in reserves over previous years’ budgets, and that money will be used to fund projects allocated in the initial plan.
If the $487 million bond is approved by voters—and voters approved CISD bond proposals in 2004 and 2008—the district will build another high school east of I-45 in south Montgomery County designed to accommodate that area’s growing student population and alleviate increased student populations at Oak Ridge North High School.
Additionally, the district will build two elementary schools and an intermediate school in the ORHS feeder zones as more large-scale residential neighborhoods are developed along the Rayford Road corridor.
A new junior high school is also planned for the Conroe High School feeder zone, while the district will complete build-out at Stewart Elementary School. Stockton said the elementary school was initially built to accommodate 800 students, with framework to eventually accommodate 200 more students.
In addition, another $5 million worth of upgrades to existing facilities, including the addition of 10 science classrooms at Knox Junior High School, a robotics lab at Caney Creek and College Park high schools, as well as career and technical programs at Oak Ridge and Caney Creek high schools.
Stockton said new facilities are needed because CISD’s student enrollment is expected to increase between 1,400 and 1,700 students per year over the next five years, according to results of a district demographic study.
In addition to approving the bond proposal, the CISD board also approved its 2015-16 budget. The $416 million budget retains the district’s $1.28 property tax rate per $100 of property valuation.