The demand for magnet programs has Clear Creek Independent School District working to add a second one also devoted to science education.
The magnet program at Seabrook Intermediate School serves the entire district, enrolling about 300 students, Jan Larsen, science magnet liaison, said.
“It’s designed for those students that love science,” Larsen said. “It’s not necessarily just for those students with straight As.”
The program is so popular district officials must turn down about 200 kids a year who apply to attend.
And because Seabrook Intermediate is in the far eastern corner of the district, transporting all of the magnet school kids from across the district’s 110 square miles can be complicated, said Kirk Swann, electronic media specialist for the district.
District officials hope to remedy some of those problems by putting a new magnet program in Brookside Intermediate School with money from the proposed $487 million bond issue.
A bond issue of $487 million would add 3.5 cents to the district’s tax rate, an increase of $5.47 a month in taxes, or $65.64 a year, on property around the median value, which is $223,635 for a single-family home, according to the district.
“Intermediate school is tough and it’s often when kids lose interest in science,” Larsen said. “We want to buck that trend. We want the kids to love walking in here each day.”
Magnet programs have sprung up around the United States and received the name because they draw students from around the district.
Students in Clear Creek ISD apply for the magnet program in fifth grade with an opportunity to apply again in sixth grade if they aren’t admitted the first time.
Once in the magnet program, students participate in science-oriented classes and programs, including use of Seabrook Intermediate School’s Living Materials Center, which houses different animals.
“It gives kids an opportunity to explore,” said Laurie Looper, a teacher in the program. “They get outdoors and learn about snakes, lizards and birds. It’s a very different class with a lot of student-driven activities. We try to tailor it to their interests, find those edges and expand on that.”
Officials want to use about $6.9 million from the proposed bond issue to create a similar magnet program at Brookside Intermediate School.
That amount will include $1.68 million for four new science labs and support spaces and $1.27 million for six general classrooms and two restrooms.
The rest of the money will be spent to add parking, small projects, adding the addition to the main building and expanding other space.
The magnet addition would be one of two additions to Brookside Intermediate School paid for with bond money.
The second would be a fine arts addition and renovation estimated to cost about $2.2 million.
That addition will include converting the existing band hall to an orchestra room and the current orchestra room into a rehearsal space.
Brookside Intermediate School’s magnet addition also would ease some of the burden on transportation services, officials said.
Brookside Intermediate School, 3535 E. FM 528 in Friendswood, is positioned on almost the exact opposite side of the district from Seabrook Intermediate, which would allow students to attend magnet programs nearer to home.
The second program also would allow the district to accommodate about 300 more students in magnet programs.
More than 41,250 students are enrolled in Clear Creek ISD schools this year, an 8.7 percent increase over the 37,960 students attending during the 2009-2010 school year. The district projects, by 2026, the student population will grow another 9.58 percent to 45,206.