Conroe ISD presents preliminary rezoning options to accommodate new schools

During a special meeting Monday at York Junior High School, Conroe ISD officials presented attendance rezoning options for the district's new elementary, intermediate and high schools, slated to open in the current Oak Ridge feeder zone over the next two years.

As potential attendance zone boundaries are redrawn, students in the Legends Ranch, Legends Run and Legends Trace area could be split up when they reach high school, which is drawing concerns from some parents.

“As you look at these scenarios, there’s a lot of pros and cons with each of them,” said Chris Hines, deputy superintendent of operations.

Currently, students in Legends Ranch, Legends Run and Legends Trace attend Snyder or Birnham Woods elementary schools, Cox Intermediate School, York Junior High and Oak Ridge High School.

With the addition of Bradley Elementary, Grand Oaks High School and an unnamed intermediate school, students in the Legends area will attend one of three elementary schools and one of two intermediate schools.

In the second option presented, which was the most concerning among parents, there is a possibility for Legends Ranch and Legends Trace to stay zoned to Oak Ridge High School, while Legends Run would be zoned to Grand Oaks High School. The first option presented would zone all of the Legends area to Grand Oaks High School.

“This community feels like Conroe [ISD] should be taking our children to Grand Oaks,” said Dawn Vinas, a Legends Ranch resident with a daughter in sixth grade. “We’re concerned about our kids who are in junior high who are going to be split from their peer groups. My child is not a number. When you show me numbers, I want to know how it’s going to impact [my daughter].”

With option one, there would be 2,420 students in the attendance zone, Hines said. Alternatively, with option two, there would be 2,068 students in the Grand Oaks attendance zone.

Oak Ridge High School has a current enrollment of 4,125 students. With option one, enrollment would drop to about 2,270. However, with option two, enrollment would be 2,622, Hines said.

“The most important thing we’re trying to do is utilize the space,” Hines said. “We’re trying to fill up the buildings to achieve reduced enrollment at our overcrowded campus.”

When Grand Oaks High School opens in 2018, only ninth and 10th graders will attend, and there will be a senior class by 2020. However, the projected number of students in the attendance zone reflects students in grades nine-12.

“I want my daughter—all of our children—to have the best of what Conroe [ISD] can offer,” Vinas said. “I’m concerned about the safety of my daughter if you’re going to take her and put her on a bus and transport her down the Rayford Road corridor, which is a very dangerous corridor, when the new high school is less than two miles away.”

Construction on Rayford Road is slated to begin in early 2017, according to Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack. This project will widen the road from four to six lanes from the railroad tracks to Riley Fuzzel Road.

As CISD continues to grow by nearly 1,500 students each school year, the district is adding new schools where they are needed. With the growth on the east side of I-45, Hines said a new junior high school might be needed as Irons and York near capacity.

Residents are invited to share their feedback on the presented attendance zones on CISD’s website. The committee who submitted the rezoning scenarios will reconvene to take community feedback into consideration with the intent of presenting recommendations at forums to be held in January, Hines said. Ultimately, the goal is to have a recommendation to submit for the Jan. 17 board of trustees meeting.

Important dates:

Nov. 30, 7 p.m.-Forum at Oak Ridge High School presenting current proposed rezoning scenarios

Dec. 1, noon-Forum at York Junior High School presenting current proposed rezoning scenarios

Jan. 9, 7 p.m.-Forum at Oak Ridge High School presenting updated committee rezoning recommendations

Jan. 10, 7 p.m.-Forum at York Junior High School presenting updated committee rezoning recommendations

Jan. 11, noon-Forum at York Junior High School presenting updated committee rezoning recommendations

Jan. 17, 6 p.m.-Board of trustees meeting
By Beth Marshall
Born and raised in Montgomery County, Beth Marshall graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in communication and a minor in business. Originally hired as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in 2016, she became editor of the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition in October 2017.