Splendora ISD board approves grade configuration and facilities improvements

When you think of summer, you think of vacations, especially for school districts, but the Splendora ISD Board of Trustees and administrators have been hard at work to get new construction and renovations underway for the 2019-20 school year and beyond.

In the past couple of months, the Board has made key decisions and passed several construction initiatives to keep the district moving forward as the district continues to experience growth. 

In May, the Board was presented with several grade configuration scenarios from Population Area Survey Analysts (PASA), the District’s demographics company, to assist in making the best decision for realigning grade levels when the new elementary school opens.

“We need our schools to have the capacity to accommodate our students until at least 2022,” said Board of Trustees President Adam Dietrich. “Our district’s bonding capacity will not allow us to even consider a bond referendum until then, so we need to make decisions now that will ensure that we have the necessary space while we experience rapid growth in our community.”

After the information was presented to the Board by PASA, an Early Education (EE) – 6th Grade configuration for all four elementary schools (including the new elementary school) beginning in the 2020-21 school year, was determined to give the district the most time before reaching capacity at all schools. This configuration will also move all special programs (pre-kindergarten, life skills, bilingual, etc.) back to their home campuses in the 2020-21 school year. 

In looking at the new configuration versus a 5th-6th grade campus configuration as originally contemplated, the following factors were considered:  what is best for students educationally, alleviating overcrowding at the junior high, maximizing capacity of district facilities for the longest amount of time, and the least disruptive solution in terms of zoning and traffic.  By going with an EE-6th grade configuration, students will have one less transition to make. 

“Many times, we find our transition years to be the most difficult (5th-6th and 8th-9th), and having a 5th-6th grade campus as originally considered would have added another transition and not gotten the district as far out in terms of capacity,” said Superintendent Dr. Jeff Burke. 

As far as rezoning is concerned, the district will have a clearly defined process, that will include community input, beginning this fall when new enrollment numbers are received. 

Along with these important decisions, other construction issues are being addressed in the district. Realizing there were short-term needs before another bond could be considered, the Board approved spending $12.4 million from the district’s fund balance.

These projects include an additional wing at the high school to increase campus capacity by 340 students, an addition to the Career and Technical Education Center, Peach Creek and Greenleaf Elementary Schools renovations, and upgrades to the baseball/softball fields including turf infields. To see the breakdown of improvements, click here. Construction is already in progress for the new elementary school and high school cafeteria expansion, both set for completion in Summer of 2020. Work on all other projects listed will begin very soon. 

“As our district grows, we will constantly be faced with making decisions regarding the capacity of our facilities and the alignment of our schools, especially considering the fact that we currently have limited bonding capacity,” said Dr. Burke.  “We are committed to keeping our community informed and involved as well as continuing to pursue innovative opportunities and solutions.”

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