Pearland ISD board approves rezoning plan to address campus overcrowding

Pearland ISD board approves rezoning plan to address campus overcrowding Long-range planning committee formed to provide facilities recommendation for possible November bond[/caption]

The Pearland ISD board of trustees approved a rezoning plan Jan. 19 to address overcrowding at four district campuses. The new attendance boundaries will affect approximately 675 students, according to officials.

The realignment will take effect for the 2016-17 school year except for students rezoned to Lawhon Elementary School, which is undergoing renovations. Those students will begin attending Lawhon the following year.

District staff compiled the plan after a Templeton Demographics study in fall 2015 projected several schools will be overcapacity within the next three years. The adopted plan targets the most overcrowded campuses: Cockrell and Harris elementary schools, Sablatura Middle School and Pearland Junior High West.

Pearland ISD board approves rezoning plan to address campus overcrowding Pearland ISD board approves rezoning plan to address campus overcrowding[/caption]

Don Tillis, PISD director of facilities and planning, said the district attempted to move the least amount of students as possible while maintaining current feeder patterns. According to officials, the new boundaries will rezone some students to campuses closer to their homes.

The plan includes grandfathering options for students entering their final grade level at a school. However, officials said bus transportation will not be provided for students who choose to remain at their current school. Tillis said letters were sent to affected students in January detailing the rezoning and their options.

Approximately 420 elementary school, 125 middle school and 130 junior high school students will be affected by the new boundaries, officials said.

The rezoning will move 135 students from Cockrell: 95 will go to Harris and 40 to Lawhon. About 170 students will be rezoned from Harris to Shadycrest Elementary School. From Shadycrest, 115 students will be rezoned to Rustic Oak Elementary School.

The plan will move 130 students from PJHW to Pearland Junior High East, and 125 Sablatura students will be rezoned to Alexander Middle School.

Future bond

PISD formed a Long-Range Facilities Planning Community Advisory Committee in November to examine the needs of the district. The group consists of about 50 community members—including Superintendent John Kelly—and will continue to meet throughout the year.

The committee will use demographic studies to identify and prioritize facility projects for a possible November bond referendum. While the district has not announced plans for a bond election, PISD Director of Communications Kim Hocott said one may be looming.

“Administration believes a bond election is necessary in November 2016 or at the latest in May 2017, but that is subject to the recommendations of the community advisory committee and ultimately the board of trustees,” she said. “The immediate step before us now is for the administration to begin giving the community committee an up-to-date analysis of facility needs with regard to enrollment growth, requests from citizens and large-scale maintenance needs.”

The committee expects to have its recommendation plan finalized April 20, according to district officials. The final date to call for a November bond election is Aug. 22.

The amount of a possible bond has not yet been discussed, according to committee chairman Glen Moreau. The PISD board will present the committee with some rough estimates in the coming months, he said.

Moreau said PISD hired a bond facilitator to work with the committee on projecting facility needs for the next 10 years. As of January, the committee did not know if new campuses would be part of its final recommendation.

“There may not be any new schools,” Moreau said. “It may be all [expansions] or refurbishing.”