Clear Creek school district’s Florence Campbell Elementary School will open its doors in August, leading a committee to re-examine boundary maps, which is upsetting some parents whose children might have to change schools.
The effort, the first of its kind in six years, also gave members of the school boundary advisory committee, composed of parents and residents, the opportunity to address other district issues, such as student overcrowding at Clear Springs and Clear Falls high schools, among others, said Sara Holder, the committee’s chairwoman.
“We are very happy with the results,” Holder said. “Every single one of our schools is amazing. So, moving from one amazing school to another is beneficial to the children if they’re no longer in an overcrowded building. This should work out.”
But some parents question the recent committee proposal, arguing it would unnecessarily divide families and break up students’ longstanding routines.
“I totally get that they needed to rezone elementary schools,” said Susie Ponder, who has two students in the district and who lives in the South Shores neighborhood. “But they shouldn’t do that for intermediate schools. My son is upset every day. His best friend in the world and he are about to get separated, and he’s just devastated.”
Both of Ponder’s children — a high school student and a sixth-grade student — attend schools in the district’s education village. This has been logistically helpful, because Ponder is a nurse and her husband works a busy job, and so their daughter can drive their son to school each day at the same place, reducing the amount of time and stress the family spends on transportation, Ponder said.
But under the committee’s recommendations, Ponder’s son would attend school next fall at Clear Creek Intermediate School, a campus about a 12-minute drive away from the education village, where her daughter will continue to drive to as a senior, she said.
“Most people bought into our neighborhood after looking at what schools they’d go to,” Ponder said. “We took this into account, and they keep pushing us out. It’s not fair.”
The committee made its decisions because of several different factors, Holder said. Namely, members were supposed to make efficient use of district facilities — taking into account what schools were overcrowded and which had space — taking into account future growth, and considering student stability, minimizing the movement of the existing population, Holder said.
While the specific number of students changing schools differed based on which attendance zone they were in, the committee recommends moving about 215 students from League City Intermediate and Bayside Intermediate to Clear Creek Intermediate, among other changes.
The recommendations have actually been more positively received than the last time the district reconsidered student boundaries, Holder said.
“Surprisingly, I haven’t seen as much criticism,” Holder said. “Before, there was some issues with subdivisions moving from one school to another. But they realized that turned out for the better. I haven’t seen or heard as much this time. I take that as a good sign.”
But for Ponder and her family, the recommendations this time are unacceptable, she said.
“I know the schools they are at,” Ponder said. “That’s where their roots are, and it’s sentimental to me. I just think it’s absolutely unfair.”
Regardless of the district’s final decision, Ponder plans to fill out a transfer request so her kids can attend school closer together, she said. And Ponder also plans to attend a series of five planned public meetings to voice her opinion, she said.
After the five public meetings, the committee will reconvene to see whether any more changes are needed before making final recommendations to the board on Feb. 25, said Sydney Hunt, spokeswoman for the district.
The construction of Florence Campbell Elementary School, the 27th elementary school in the district, is one of many projects funded through a 2017 $487 million bond, officials said.