Here were the top education stories for Alvin ISD, Friendswood ISD and Pearland ISD from this year.

Pearland ISD, Friendswood ISD tax rate elections to pass, unofficial results show

All three school districts held elections in some capacity in 2023. AISD and PISD each had trustee elections in May, while PISD and FISD held voter-approval tax rate elections, or VATREs, to try and shore up their respective fiscal year 2023-24 budgets.

Both VATREs passed, and incumbents won in the May elections.

Friendswood High School roof collapses, killing 1 and injuring 3

During construction work at FHS, the boy’s gym roof collapsed in June, killing one construction worker and injuring three others.

Officials said in July a potential cause for the collapse came from the removal of a load-bearing wall. Meanwhile, the site is scheduled to be demolished in December and rebuilt in time for the upcoming 2024-25 school year.

The work was part of the district’s 2020 bond, which saw several projects wrap up in 2023.

Alvin ISD to see continued enrollment growth in coming years

As was the case with four of the five previous years, Alvin ISD added another estimated 1,000 students to its enrollment count in the 2023-24 school year, according to district data.

As part of that growth, the district readdressed boundaries again to both deal with potential over-capacity at some campuses, as well as take into account two new schools set to open in 2024.

'It's consumed us': Vaping a growing problem in Pearland, Alvin, Friendswood ISDs

All three school districts are seeing vaping incidents happening on their campus, with one AISD official going as far to say it had “consumed” the district.

The state chimed in with a bill to help remedy the problem, while some, such as PISD, implemented new measures to deal with the trend, such as vape detection devices in their bathrooms.

As Texas Legislature special sessions loom, school districts await budget help

The state was at the top of mind for many school districts both in the area and across Texas, as the new 88th legislative session produced several new bills related to schools.

Many school district officials publicly criticized the state as well for its lack of school funding bills. The state’s student allotment has sat still since 2019 and did not see a raise this school year.

Meanwhile, House Bill 3, for example, was a safety bill that implemented several new requirements for school districts, including having an armed officer at each campus during school hours. Many in response, including AISD and PISD approved exceptions to the bill because they couldn’t meet the requirements immediately.

The state’s new A-F accountability system also was set to go into effect, but has been tied up in litigation due to concerns that it could damage public schooling in the state.

Attempts to pass school vouchers, while going on throughout the end of the calendar year, had yet to be successful in the state legislature.

Pearland ISD approves second pay raise for teachers

One item that did pass at the state level was teacher pay. AISD, FISD and PISD approved their own teacher pay increases as well. PISD approved a second raise following the approval of its VATRE, while FISD could do the same in the future as well.