Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect what portion of the Creekside area was included in the district's property tax base calculation.
The Tomball ISD school board took no action on a plan to build an intermediate school instead of an elementary school at the Tomball Innovation Center during a nearly four-hour special meeting May 2.
What happened: The special meeting included over a dozen public comments and several hours of presentation from district staff on topics surrounding the plan.
- General Counsel Holly Sherman spoke about the bond language and the legality of changing the originally planned elementary school to an intermediate school.
- Chief of Staff Amy Schindewolf presented information about the 2021 bond process and the facility study steering committee.
- Chief Financial Officer Jim Ross spoke about property values, land acquisition challenges in the Creekside area, eminent domain, the potential of expanding Creekside Park Junior High School and the construction timeline.
- Chief Operating Officer Steven Gutierrez presented on transportation and travel concerns, the district’s demographics, and different zoning maps.
How we got here: District staff presented the school board with a plan to change the proposed elementary school at the Tomball Innovation Center to an intermediate school during an April 10 special meeting. The goal of this plan is to provide capacity relief to the Creekside-area elementary schools, including Creekside Forest, Timber Creek and Creekview, Community Impact previously reported.
At a town hall meeting to discuss this plan, Creekside-area parents and families expressed opposition to the plan and vocalized concerns with the bond language, the location of the campus and transportation.
Did you know?
- The Creekside student population is 4,643.
- The district serves nearly 22,000 students, according to its website.
- The Creekside area east of Burroughs Park to the border of the district makes up 20.01% of TISD’s total property tax base, or $3.96 billion of the district’s $19.81 billion total market value, according to Ross’ portion of the presentation.
What trustees are saying: Trustees expressed support in exploring other options, including the potential for expansion at Creekside Park Junior High, but did stress the board’s fiduciary responsibility.
- Trustee Michael Pratt: “I want to reassure everyone that there is no bait and switch. What this is is an effort to try and address capacity problems that we’ve got. ... I’m eager to learn about Creekside Park Junior High and what’s possible on that campus.”
- Board President Lee McLeod: “If ... there’s any possibility at the junior high or any possibility anywhere, it really comes down to what’s economically feasible, what’s fiduciarily responsible.”
- Trustee Tina Salem: “At the end of the day, we have to be good stewards of your tax dollars and do what’s best for all the students in the district.”
Next steps: While no action was taken by the school board at this meeting, the board did ask Ross to look into expansion options at Creekside Park Junior High.
The school board will meet again during workshop and regular meetings May 8-9.