Conroe ISD is preparing for the first bond election to be held by the district since 2008. In November, voters will be asked to weigh in on the referendum intended to fund construction of new schools and facility upgrades throughout the district.
With 56,400 students enrolled in the district in the 2014-15 school year and an additional 7,000 students projected to be added in the next four years, Superintendent Don Stockton said construction of new facilities and upgrading existing campuses is necessary to meet demand.
“The bond issue will impact the whole district, whether it is a new school in a certain area, or upkeep to [an existing] school,” Stockton said.
According to a recent CISD demographic study, the majority of growth the district will experience will occur in neighborhoods outside The Woodlands. Neighborhoods expected to see increased student populations include Woodforest, Imperial Oaks and Harper’s Preserve.
District officials have started the planning process for the bond referendum, and have assembled a citizens committee that will recommend bond amounts and construction projects to the school board in June.
School board President John Husbands said the district aims to use bond funds specifically to add student capacity rather than for supplementary facilities that are not critical.
“In this particular bond issue it is our objective to concentrate on the needs of children, [and] that means we have to have seats for kids,” Husbands said. “It is our intention to minimize this bond issue as much as we can and maximize our efficiency. In other words this is not a bond issue about wants. This is all about seats in classrooms.”
Stockton said with the new facilities the district would be able to improve its career and technical programs, such as welding, auto mechanics and cosmetology—which often require specialized facilities for instruction.
“There is need because industries are really hurting for employees in those areas,” he said. “The beauty of what we can do in schools now is we can have kids college-ready and certified to enter the workforce at the same time, so they have options when they graduate. Some of those programs are expensive.”
Stockton said upgrades to existing facilities are also necessary based on the district’s life cycle program.
“We have a life cycle program that on a regular schedule we go back to campuses to paint the school and replace flooring and some of those things, not to mention some electrical and mechanical upgrades,” Stockton said.