Conroe ISD: Two campuses up and running, some on drawing board from '08 bond issue

The Conroe Independent School District is continuing to reap benefits of school bonds approved by voters in 2008, as upgrades and new campuses continue to take shape. Through the district's most recent bond referendum, the rapidly-growing school district has completed and opened two new schools with three more in construction or design phases. Two more will be funded through the $527 million in bonds, which also is paying for upgrades at all existing campuses.

"Growth is a matter of life in Montgomery County and in CISD," said Superintendent Don Stockton. "Bonds are critical to build campuses to have places for children to go to school."

Entering his 10th year as superintendent, Stockton has seen the district grow by 15,000 students, or about 1,500 new students per year. The district's financial advisers projected the 2008 bond referendum would add 10 cents to its tax rate, which in 2008 was $1.24.

This year, the combined tax rate is $1.295 per $100 valuation — representing an impact of 5 and a half cents since the bond issue was passed by voters four years ago.

"We have been fortunate to keep the tax rate as the lowest in Montgomery County and one of the lowest in the Houston area at $1.295," Stockton said, "and that's been for a couple of years, and will remain stable for next year, at least."

Funded by the 2008 bonds, Birnham Woods Elementary and Bozman Intermediate opened in the fall of 2009, and a district Police Command Center opened in 2010, Conroe ISD spokeswoman Katherine Clark said.

Irons Junior High is under construction and set to open in the fall. A new elementary campus to be located near Birnham Woods and Riley Fuzzell in the southern part of the district is scheduled to open in 2013. Also set to open in fall of 2013 is a replacement campus for Peet Junior High, which is being transformed into a 9th grade campus for Conroe High School.

Further into the future, two more elementary schools will be funded through the 2008 referendum, Clark said, but the district is waiting for a demographic study to be completed before moving forward with those facilities.

In addition, bond sales funded upgrades and safety enhancements for all the district's campuses, Clark said. Much of those are being completed during summer months.