Conroe - Montgomery Edition | September 2020

CONROE MONTGOMERY EDITION New! 2020 VOLUME XX, ISSUE XX  XXXXXXXXXX, 2020

PUBLIC EDUCATION EDITION

ONLINE AT

VOLUME 6, ISSUE 6  SEPT. 18OCT. 15, 2020

Weighing  

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Schools build resources for reopening

Given evidence COVID-19 poses a lower health risk for school-aged children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has claimed in-person education can provide the best resources for children’s education and well-being. Conroe, Montgomery and Willis ISDs are oering virtual and in-person options this fall.

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BY ADRIANA REZAL & BEN THOMPSON

VIRTUAL LEARNING

INPERSON INSTRUCTION

Following a summer of planning and adaptation to coronavirus guidelines, Conroe, Montgomery and Willis ISDs welcomed students to campus Sept. 8 as in-person learning for the 2020-21 school year kicked o. According to the districts, around 64% of CISD students returned face to face, while 85% and 60% of MISD and WISD students returned in person, respectively, and the remainder con- tinued with virtual instruction. Some parents, educators and experts said they feel in-person educa- tion is an ideal model for learning, but health and safety concerns related to COVID-19 are causing many students to remain virtual or carry additional emotional baggage this year. School CONTINUED ON 18

Challenges

Challenges

36% CISD:

64% CISD:

Higher risk of COVID-19 exposure Students may be subject to wearing face coverings for extended periods of time

Students struggle to pay attention and engage, and nd diculty in structuring learning on their own Possibility of limited or no computer or internet access Possible drop o in domestic abuse reports

15% MISD:

85% MISD:

Benets

Opportunities to engage with peers and teachers face to face More direct access to school services Ability for some parents and caregivers to return to work

Benets

MARSALAS ITALIAN GRILL 7

40% WISD:

60% WISD:

Reduced risk of exposure to COVID-19 Students can feel more

in control of their learning process

SOURCES: SCHOOL DISTRICTS; CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION; DR. MOLLY LOPEZ, DIRECTOR OF THE TEXAS INSTITUTE FOR EXCELLENCE IN MENTAL HEALTHCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Downon its luck Despite local support, East Texas bingo in legal limbo BY EVA VIGH

KEENAN CUT OFF ROAD

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EDUCATION E D I T I O N 2020 PUBLIC SPONSOREDBY • Lone Star College

INSIDE

22

Naskila Gaming, shuttered due to COVID19, has faced years of litigation. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)

DISTRICT DATA

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CONROE - MONTGOMERY EDITION • SEPTEMBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

IMPACTS

7

Now Open, Coming Soon &more TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 9 Projects around Conroe, Montgomery CITY 10 Conroe Mayor Toby Powell dies COUNTY 11 Montgomery County nixes plan to provide $500 stimulus checks

FROMCHRISSY: Many parents, as well as students, are excited about nally being able to attend school in person after weeks of virtual learning. We have included our annual Public Education Edition that includes a detailed look at K-12 public schools in Conroe and Montgomery. Our lead story focuses on how our schools are supporting students’ social and emotional health as they reopen. Chrissy Leggett, GENERALMANAGER

MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Chrissy Leggett, cleggett@communityimpact.com EDITOR Anna Lotz SENIOR REPORTER Eva Vigh GRAPHIC DESIGNER Stephanie Torres ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Debbie Pfeer

METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper MANAGING EDITOR Matt Stephens ARTPRODUCTIONMANAGER Aubrey Galloway CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pugerville, TX. The company's mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Today we operate across ve metropolitan areas, providing hyperlocal, nonpartisan news produced by our full-time journalists in each community we serve. BECOMEA#COMMUNITYPATRON CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman WHOWE ARE

FROMANNA: You may notice a new face on this page. I’m the new editor of the Conroe-Montgomery edition, but don’t worry—Eva Vigh remains the heartbeat behind so many of our stories. I’ve spent the last four and a half years with our Tomball-Magnolia edition, and I am thrilled to now serve you as well. I can’t wait to meet you when I’m out and about. Feel free to introduce yourself at alotz@communityimpact.com. Anna Lotz, EDITOR

PUBLIC EDUCATION

DISTRICT DATA

13

Snapshot of Conroe, Willis and Montgomery ISDs EDUCATION Montgomery ISD balances budget

15

THIS ISSUE BY THE NUMBERS

24

New businesses 5

Road projects 4

School districts 3

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stay informed and keep businesses thriving. COMMUNITYIMPACT.COMCIPATRON CONTACT US 8400 N. Sam Houston Pkwy. W, Ste. 220 Houston, TX 77064 • 2814696181 PRESS RELEASES comnews@communityimpact.com SUBSCRIPTIONS communityimpact.com/subscriptions © 2020 Community Impact Newspaper Co. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without written permission from the publisher.

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CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • SEPTEMBER 2020

Montgomery County Public Notice | Health Care Assistance Program (HCAP) All residents of Montgomery County who fall within the maximum income, resource, residency, citizenship, and household composition criteria established in the Montgomery County Indigent Care Program (MCICP) and Medical Assistance Program (MAP) Handbooks*, and who have no other equivalent public or private health care benefits, may be eligible for medically necessary health care benefits as mandated by the State of Texas pursuant to the programs and services offered by the Montgomery County Hospital District (MCHD).

A complete application will include but may not be limited to the following types of verification:

Potentially eligible residents may include:

• US Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents 18 years of age or older; • Those whose household composition makes them ineligible for Medicaid through the State of Texas; • Adult males, non-pregnant females without minor children; married couples of either gender or any age who reside in Montgomery County; • Those whose countable gross income minus work deductions does not exceed the maximum established Federal Poverty Income Level (FPIL) of 150% FPIL; and • Those whose resource standards approximate the State of Texas’ TANF stan- dards. Eligibility determinations will be made within 14 (fourteen) days after the date a complete application and all the required documentation is received by MCHD’s HCAP office.

• Identification for each member of the applying household; • Proof of marital status; • Resources identification, to include automobile registration or title, property tax statement, savings account/CD statements, etc.; • Proof of income or lack of income to include verification of support by friends, family or other sources, pay stubs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/food stamp) award printout, self-employment records, etc.; • Proof of County residency; and • Proof of registration with Texas Workforce Commission (some exemptions may apply).

Applicants must provide all requested information and documentation in order to determine eligibility or applicant will be denied eligibility for HCAP assistance. Applicants have the right to appeal adverse decisions regarding eligibility. HCAP caseworkers will be available by appointment for purposes of verifying eligibility ONLY once the application and required documentation are provided.

Applications for HCAP are available for pick up at: Montgomery County Hospital District - Administration Building

HCAP Office Hours Monday – Thursday: 7:30am – 4:30pm Friday: 7:30am – 11:30am Phone: (936) 523- 5100 / Fax: (936) 539- 3450 Hablamos español

Health Care Assistance Program (HCAP) 1400 South Loop 336 West (First Floor) Conroe, TX 77304

Applications are also available by mail or fax upon telephone or written request to the number and address located above. Additionally, applications can be found on the HCAP website at www.mchd-tx.org by clicking on the HCAP tab at the top of the page. MCHD does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, or gender in administering HCAP Plans to eligible residents. *The most recent versions of the MCICP and MAP Handbooks are available online at www.mchd-tx.org

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

BY ANDY LI & EVA VIGH

WILLIS

9

149

1097

LAKE CONROE

LONE STAR PKWY.

75

830

2

45

MONTGOMERY

1484

105

CLEPPER DR.

75

10

1

Marsalas ItalianGrill

149

CONROE

3083

8

3

COURTESY MARSALAS ITALIAN GRILL

6

tions include stued mushrooms, black- ened salmon and shrimp salad, chicken cannelloni and sauteed mussels.

WILSON RD.

336

12

4 5

KEENAN CUT OFF RD.

105

JOHN A. BUTLER ST.

13

www.marsalasgrill.com RELOCATIONS

2854

N. SAN JACINTO ST.

7

11

10 Lake Conroe Christian Academy re- located to 2080 Longmire, Conroe, from 11360 Cude Cemetery Road, Willis, in late July. The private preschool oers services for children from 3 years old to rst grade. The school oers Spanish lessons, arts and crafts, and chapel studies. 936-537-0046. www.lccawillis.com 11 First Response Family Clinic opened at its new location Aug. 3. The clinic moved to 3401 W. Davis St., Conroe, from 3303 W. Davis St. The clinic does not accept insurance and oers telemedicine visits, u shots, oce procedures and other basic care. 936-231-8610. www.frfclinic.com 12 Conroe Family Dentistry relocated to 1362 Wilson Road, Conroe, on Aug. 3. The new oce features four hygiene rooms, six operatories and two

336

SCARBOROUGH DR.

9

MAP NOT TO SCALE N TM; © 2020 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

1314

3 K. Innovations opened June 4 at 304 John A. Butler St., Montgomery. The business oers custom graphic design, art and other customizable items. 936-777-4066. www.facebook.com/k.innovationss 4 Annie’s Angels Personal Home Care opened Aug. 1 at 610 N. Loop 336 E., Ste. 104, Conroe. The company provides companion care and personal assistance services to seniors and disabled adults in Conroe and surrounding areas in Montgomery County. 281-979-6143. www.aangelsphc.com 5 Conroe Oce Solutions opened June 1 at 610 N. Loop 336 E., Conroe, oering exible membership plans for shared and traditional oce spaces as well as virtual spaces, which allow businesses and employees to work remotely. The facility also has meeting and conference rooms. 936-320-0027. www.conroeocesolutions.net 6 Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Que opened Sept. 11, according to a press re- lease. The eatery, located at 14545 Hwy. 105 W., Conroe, serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and large group meals. Breakfast tacos are served until 10 a.m. Additional services include family meals, curbside

pickup, delivery and online ordering. www.rudysbbq.com 7 Galavant’s Coee opened Aug. 3 in downtown Conroe. Owners Bradley Bailey and Makenzie Rankin operate the mobile coee cart at 1226 N. San Jacinto St. and sell teas, homemade syrups and espresso-based beverages using beans from Amaya Coee, a specialty roaster based in Houston. The business is also open for private events and weddings. 936-438-4899. www.facebook.com/galavantscoee COMING SOON 8 Wings Over Montgomery will open in September at 14335 Liberty St., Mont- gomery. The restaurant specializes in chicken wings and also has historic arti- facts from the life of Texas lawyer Rich- ard Haynes, the grandfather of co-owner Damon Haynes. www.wingsovermontgomery.com 9 Marsalas Italian Grill has signed a lease at 100 Scarborough Drive, Stes. A3- A4, Conroe, according to a development report by the city of Conroe. Marsalas should open this fall, manager and owner Isaac Rodriguez said Aug. 21. Menu op- WEST FORK SAN JACINTO RIVER 1488 45

7

149

1488

242

Galavant’s Coee

COURTESY GALAVANT’S COFFEE

NOWOPEN 1 Frios Gourmet Pops hosted its grand opening celebration Aug. 7 at 15885 Hwy. 105 W., Ste. 3, Montgomery. The store sells gourmet frozen pops with more than 60 avors. 936-522-6109. www.friospops.com 2 Superior Shaved Ice held its grand opening July 4 at 18426 Hwy. 105, Mont- gomery. The mobile food trailer oers various avors of shaved ice, snacks and lemonade. 346-386-1155. www.facebook.com/superiorshavedice

surgical rooms. 936-539-2211. www.conroefamilydentistry.com NEWOWNERSHIP

13 Suds Car Wash and Lube purchased Suds Grand Prix, a car wash and lube cen- ter located at 4203 W. Davis St. in Conroe, according to an Aug. 11 news release. The facility consists of 9,200 square feet of car care service areas, three lube bays, an automated car wash tunnel, a storefront and a resting area. 936-539-9274. www.sudscarwashconroe.com

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CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • SEPTEMBER 2020

SEEING A PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR Is Still Important

For everything from annual checkups to managing chronic conditions, taking care of your health should always be a priority. Houston Methodist primary care doctors are still available to provide personalized care for you and your family — safely. We offer a variety of convenient ways to get care from us, from same-day sick visits to extended hours at select locations. And, you can be confident that we are taking every necessary precaution to keep you safe during your visit, including:

Screening all patients, and seeing COVID-19 patients virtually only — allowing us to treat everyone safely

Ensuring social distancing in waiting rooms

Offering video visits with your doctor

Wearing masks while providing care

Adding evening and Saturday hours to space out appointments

Enhanced cleaning of equipment and surfaces

houstonmethodist.org/pcg Call or text: 713.394.6724

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

COMPILED BY ANNA LOTZ

ONGOING PROJECTS

MCCALEB RD.

2854

WALDEN RD.

1486

2854

BOIS D'ARC BEND

105

KEENAN CUT OFF RD.

FISH CREEK THOROUGHFARE

149

105

LAKE CREEK

LONE STAR PKWY.

N

N

N

N

Hwy. 105 widening A project is on the table to widen Hwy. 105 between FM 149 to the Grimes County line west of Montgomery. The proposed Texas Department of Trans- portation project would reconstruct and widen the two-lane road to a four-lane divided roadway. Design work is about 30% complete, according to TxDOT information Sept. 1. Although a construc- tion timeline is still unknown, the project is estimated to be sent out for construc- tion bids Sept. 1, 2022. Timeline: September 2022-TBD Cost: $70.6 million Funding source: TxDOT

Bois D’Arc Bend improvements The city of Conroe is planning to improve drainage and add a traffic signal along Bois D’Arc Bend with the projects begin- ning this fall. According to city informa- tion, a traffic signal will be added at Bois D’Arc and Walden Road, and about 1,000 linear feet of drainage improvements will be added in that area to allow water to flow to Lake Conroe. The projects will begin after utility relocations take place. Timeline: TBD Cost: $230,803 (traffic signal), $481,911 (drainage improvements) Funding source: city of Conroe

Keenan Cut Off Road overpass Montgomery County Precinct 2 is also constructing a railroad overpass pro- viding drivers on Keenan Cut Off Road a direct route to FM 2854, Riley said. The project is slated to be complete in late 2020 or early 2021 and improve safety, particularly for school buses needing to cross the railroad tracks to get to Keenan Elementary or Oak Hills Junior High schools, Riley said. Timeline: November 2019-late 2020 Cost: $5.85 million Funding source: 2015 Montgomery County Road Bond

Fish Creek Thoroughfare projects Two Precinct 2 projects on Fish Creek Thoroughfare are wrapping up, Commis- sioner Charlie Riley said. A second bridge over Lake Creek is expected to open in October. The overpass across FM 2854 and the railroad tracks is set for November. When complete, Fish Creek will feature four lanes, medians and turn lanes from FM 1488 to Hwy. 105. Timeline: August 2018-October 2020 (bridge), July 2019-November 2020 (overpass) Cost: $11.65 million Funding source: 2015 Montgomery County Road Bond

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF SEPT. 9. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT COMNEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

NEW HOMES from the mid $200s

DIRECTIONS: Take I-45 North, exit FM 105 and turn left. Take 105 to FM 2854 and turn left. Fairwater will be on the left. fairwatercommunity.com

Ideally situated in the Conroe/Montgomery area, this neighborhood offers an outstanding location zoned to Montgomery ISD schools, including the new Lake Creek High School. There is also an exciting planned amenity package to include a splash pad and playground. Stop by and see: it’s easy to picture Fairwater as your new home.

9

CONROE - MONTGOMERY EDITION • SEPTEMBER 2020

CITY ‘Hewas a rock for our city’: ConroeMayor Toby Powell dies

BY EVA VIGH

from 2008-10 and served four years as director and vice chairman of the Lone Star Family Health Clinic. “He was a rock for our city and loved by people not just in Conroe but everywhere [he] went,” Council Member Raymond McDonald said. “He was highly esteemed in munic- ipal circles and a father gure in my life.” McDonald recalled regular visits to Powell’s oce, where he would mentor him as a council member. They would even pray together. “His faith in Christ was powerful,” McDonald said. City Administrator Paul Vir- gadamo expressed his sadness at Powell’s passing. "We’re going to miss the mayor and his leadership,” he said. “He loved Conroe. He loved serving as our mayor, and he wanted nothing but the best for Conroe and its

Conroe Mayor Toby Powell, who was running for re-election, died late Sept. 12 due to cancer, according to the city. Powell was elected as mayor in 2016 and was to face Council Member Jody Czajkoski in November. A lifelong resident of Conroe, Powell graduated from Conroe High School in 1959 and attended Sam Houston State University. He worked as a builder and developer for more than 50 years and was married to Vanessa Powell. They have four sons and a daughter, according to a city release. Powell served on City Council in 1977 and 1978, and again in 2008-12. He served as mayor pro tem from 2010-12 and was a director on the Conroe Industrial Development Corp. from 2008 until his death. He also served as a director on the Houston Galveston Area Council

Toby Powell was most recently elected in 2016 and was running for re-election. (File photo)

citizens and employees.” Mayor Pro Tem Duke Coon—who is serving as interim mayor—said he knew Powell most of his life and considered him a very close friend and mentor. “I’m so blessed that I was able to serve by his side,” he said. “Our focus is now to honor the mayor.” On Sept. 14, the city lowered its ags in remembrance.

“It’s a big loss for the city of Conroe,” said Assistant City Admin- istrator Steve Williams, who worked with Powell over the last 12 years. “He was a good man; he was a good friend.” Powell’s name will remain post- humously on the November ballot, McDonald said. A special election would need to be called should Pow- ell garner the most votes, he said.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COUNTY

COMPILED BY EVA VIGH

Montgomery County nixes plan for $500 stimulus

THE PLAN

The county received funds from the federal government to be used for COVID-19 relief. The county received nearly $105 million in funds. The county proposed a plan to give homesteaders a $500 check. The county could have had to pay the $65 million back to the U.S. Treasury.

saying the Treasury showed a “lack of commitment” to provide written approval, and the court opted to not move forward with the plan. “The county would be on the hook for millions of dollars, so we would have to raise taxes or gure out another way to pay back potentially $65 million,” Precinct 3 Chief of Sta Evan Besong said. But some legal experts said county ocials should never have expected approval from the U.S. Treasury. “It is not ... part of the process [for the county] to submit their proposed expenditures,” said Tenley Carp, a governmental contracts attorney for law rm Arnall Golden Gregory. “The Treasury would be overwhelmed trying to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to pro- posals from ... local governments.” Carp said a stimulus payment might qualify for federal funding is if individuals who applied showed a direct eect from COVID-19. “The stimulus payment is not at

On June 1, Montgomery County commissioners approved a plan to provide $500 checks to residents for COVID-19 relief but ultimately backed out over concerns the county would need to repay the money. The plan, which was proposed by Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack, would have used $65 million of the nearly $105 million the county received in funding for COVID-19 relief from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The funds are to be used only for COVID-19 relief, and if dollars are spent outside the scope of the intended use of the funds, local governments could be subject to a clawback, meaning they are respon- sible for repaying them back. County ocials sought clari- cation from the U.S. Treasury Department after the plan’s approval for assurance the county would not be subject to a clawback. On Aug. 24, Precinct 3 released a statement

all what these funds are to be used for; it’s very clear,” she said. When asked if his proposal was presented to the public prematurely and if in hindsight he would have waited for further guidance, Noack said he was being transparent by publicly sharing what the county intended to do with its funds. “I needed to ... have a public meeting,” he added, referring to the Texas Open Meetings Act. “There was no way we could have sought [the Treasury’s] approval for a program that wasn’t approved by the court.” Treasury ocials did not provide a comment for publication. Residents said they felt frustrated by the county’s lack of communica- tion on the status of the proposal. “I have been praying this would be approved,” Montgomery County resident Dorothy Peterson said. “The $500 I was counting on to recoup, but I guess it’s not going to happen.”

SOURCE: MONTGOMERY COUNTY COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

“THE STIMULUS PAYMENT IS NOT AT ALL WHAT THESE FUNDS ARE TO BE USED FOR; IT’S VERY CLEAR.” TENLEY CARP, GOVERNMENTAL “EVERYBODY THOUGHT WE WOULD BE ABLE TO GET THE TREASURY TO SIGN OFF ON THIS.” JAMES NOACK, PRECINCT 3 COMMISSIONER

CONTRACTS ATTORNEY FOR ARNALL GOLDEN GREGORY

Brownouts leave 60,000 county residentswithout power

STORMEFFECTS

Hurricane Laura caused widespread outages for Entergy, which services 2.9 million utility customers in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, in the last week of August.

When Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana early Aug. 27 as a Category 4 storm, Montgomery County residents were spared the brunt of the damage. Yet, nearly 60,000 residents were reportedly out of power at one point Aug. 27 due to brownouts—or deliberate reductions of electricity ow by the utility provider to prevent blackouts—and some reported up to 10 hours with no electricity. Ocials with Entergy, the utility

“I was unable to use my oxygen and had diculty breathing for six hours,” said Betty Menville, a 73-year-old April Sound resident who relies on oxygen tanks. Gabriella Finney, a resident of Caney Creek in Conroe, said she went almost seven hours with no power and no updates. “Entergy has always been on point with communication, but they really dropped the ball with this brownout,” she said.

company, said the brownouts were critical to prevent a more extensive and prolonged outage. “These steps were only a last-resort measure taken to ensure the overall stability of the electric grid,” Entergy Senior Communications Specialist Allison Payne said. But residents said they did not receive a warning from Entergy that the power was going to be shut o. For the medically fragile and elderly, the wait was agonizing.

Texas Entergy customers aected:

Entergy employees deployed:

58,000+ HOUSEHOLDS Hurricane Laura Aug. 27 outages in Montgomery County: 291,000 7,400

SOURCE: ENTERGY COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • SEPTEMBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

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2020 PUBLIC EDUCATION EDITION

CONRO E I S D  MON TGOME RY I S D  W I L L I S I S D S NA P S HOT DISTRICT DATA COMPILED BY ANNA LOTZ, BEN THOMPSON & EVA VIGH

Conroe and Montgomery ISDs had a smaller percentage of economically disadvantaged students than Willis ISD while MISD had the lowest percentage of English language learner students in 2019-20, data from the Texas Education Agency shows.

SOURCES: TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY, CONROE ISD, MONTGOMERY ISD, WILLIS ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

201920 TEACHER STATS

STUDENT ENROLLMENT

201920SUPERINTENDENT ANNUAL SALARY

*Estimated

3,930 598 438 TOTAL NUMBER OF TEACHERS

NEIGHBORING DISTRICT COMPARISON

NEIGHBORING DISTRICT COMPARISON

Magnolia ISD: 856

Tomball ISD: 1,083

RETENTION RATE

86.1%

Unknown

89%

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21*

NEIGHBORING DISTRICT COMPARISON

MAGNOLIA ISD 80%*

TOMBALL ISD 88.52%

FROM 201617 +10.43% +6.62% +6.28%

*201819

$52,000 $51,000 $57,000 202021 STARTING TEACHER SALARY Magnolia ISD: $54,000 Tomball ISD: $56,000 NEIGHBORING DISTRICT COMPARISON

201920 ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS

201920 ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS

39.31%

15.26%

26.50%

2.23%

60.8%

14.80%

TOTAL NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 7,952 1,079 988

60.24%

20.26%

STATE AVERAGE

STATE AVERAGE

13

CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • SEPTEMBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION

BUDGET BLUNDERS

Montgomery ISDbalancesbudget, identiesmisallocated$1million

a million dollars short of where it should have been,” he said. It is not immediately clear what the consequences could be for the district. “I’ve never had this situation where we were in a budget that wasn’t up to state spending levels,” said Lynn, who previously spent 19 years as Channelview ISD’s chief nancial ocer. On Sept. 14, Lynn and Superinten- dent Heath Morrison, who took the position in July, said upon further investigation, they found that MISD had been historically spending less than the 55% requirement, but the state had always found the district to be compliant. “The auditors were aware of the practice, and the reason it never showed up in any auditors report was the district was always found to be compliant with state spending requirements,” Lynn said. It is not clear where the money designated for CTE went. “Where was that money allocated? I can’t tell you, and that’s not a good feeling,” Lynn said. But he emphasized it did not simply “go missing” and was not an underhand reallocation. Lynn said that moving forward, the budgeting practice will change. The FY 2020-21 budget included a 46% increase in expenditures budgeted for the CTE department, which meets the state requirements. Because the FY 2020-21 budget had to account for this increase, its expenditures are greater than last year’s, and Lynn said it made nan- cial sense to not provide pay raises. The district will be more trans- parent about its budget at board workshops and will host community

School districts receive funding for career and technical education programs and are required to spend 55% of that money toward CTE. MISD did not budget correctly in FY 2019-20. FY 2019-20 budget:

BY EVA VIGH

Lynn presented the board with a balanced budget Sept. 15, after this story went to press. “I appreciate the board’s leadership in wanting a balanced budget,” he said Sept. 14. “I would like for the community to have a sense of, the board set a goal, and we achieved that goal.” The board approved a budget amendment in July that reduced the shortfall by $836,000 and another budget amendment Aug. 18 for $472,000. The third amendment was presented to the board Sept. 15 for about $400,000. Board members reiterated at the Aug. 18 meeting that in addition to balancing their budget, they hope to have MISD be the highest-paid sta in Montgomery County. Falling short Under the Texas Education Code, a school district is eligible to receive weighted funding for each eligible student in an approved career and technical education program. In addition to this weighted funding, a school district is also eligible to receive a at amount of $50 per student enrolled in certain advanced CTE courses or programs. The district received $5.6 million in CTE funding from the state in FY 2019-20 and was required to spend 55% of that money—which is about $3.3 million—specically for CTE but only budgeted $2.39 million, Lynn said at a June 1 meeting. “That 19-20 budget for CTE was

For most of the last scal year, Montgomery ISD board of trustees members have voiced their concerns of a looming budget shortfall. District ocials predicted a $2.8 million shortfall for scal year 2020-21, but through concerted eorts by school ocials, a balanced budget was presented for approval at the board of trustees meeting Sept. 15. But although the FY 2020-21 budget has greater expenditures than last year, it includes no pay raises for teachers or sta. The greater expen- ditures are due to a budgeting error in the FY 2019-20 budget that allocated $1 million less than the amount meant to be designated for the career and technical education department, ocials said. Balancing the budget MISD faced a $2.8 million budget shortfall for FY 2020-21, ocials said in May. Since then, ocials chipped away at the shortfall to put the district in good nancial standing. At a June 16 board of trustees meeting, MISD Chief Financial Ocer Kris Lynn, who took the position in April, outlined a budget shortfall of $1.6 million for FY 2020-21, which was adopted June 30. Since then, the district has balanced its budget through three amendments, which identied budget reductions by not lling vacant positions and reallo- cating others, and reducing the fuel budget due to less buses running, Lynn said in an interview Sept. 14.

MISD:

received $5.6 million in CTE funding from the state

was required to spend $3.3 million only budgeted $2.39 million

FY 2020-21 budget:

WHITTLING IT DOWN Montgomery ISD has reduced its FY 2019-20’s budget decit mostly by reallocating positions. MISD is proposing allocating $3.49 million for CTE, a 46% increase from last year.

MISD faced a $2.8 million budget shortfall. Budget decit reduced to $1.6 million. $1.3 million in reductions approved. Decit reduced to $386,000.

In May

June 16

Aug. 18

Balanced budget presented to board.

Sept. 15

SOURCES: MONTGOMERY ISD, TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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CONROE  MONTGOMERY EDITION • SEPTEMBER 2020

Public Education Edition 2020

AN INSIDE LOOK AT CONROE , WI LL IS AND MONTGOMERY ISD DATA AND DEMOGRAPHICS BY CAMPUS CAMPUS DEEP DIVE COMPILED BY VANESSA HOLT, ANNA LOTZ & EVA VIGH Schools in Conroe, Willis and Montgomery ISDs have a student population that is predominantly white and Hispanic/Latino, according to demographic information released by the Texas Education Agency.

ACCOUNTABILITYRATINGS All Texas school districts and campuses will receive a Not Rated: Declared State of Disaster label for their 2020 accountability ratings, according to the Texas Education Agency. Texas students take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness each year to measure standards in reading, writing, math, science and social studies and are traditionally given letter grades ranging from A-F based on performance. Although the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing, the state has said all students will be required to take the STAAR in 2021, as of press time. The ratings are based on several categories, including Student Achievement, School Progress and Closing the Gaps, all of which compare student performance. FOR 2020 AND BEYOND

2019 RATING

B B B

CONROE ISD OVERALL RATING

WILLIS ISD OVERALL RATING

SOURCE: TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

MONTGOMERY ISD OVERALL RATING

*HAUKE IS AN ACADEMIC ALTERNATIVE HIGH SCHOOL.

*GRAND OAKS OPENED IN 2018.

CONROE ISD

DEMOGRAPHICS

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS 201920 DATA

Feeder schools

Exemplary performance

Recognized performance

Acceptable performance

1 Anderson 2 Armstrong

671 81.67% <10 <10 68 477

-

11 105 42, 35

In need of improvement

Unacceptable performance

661 93.04% <10 <10 81 463 -

13 93

42

3 Austin

958 72.86% <10 <10 <10 579 <10 <10 365 40, 35

4 BirnhamWoods

1,003 17.25% <10 60 110 183 <10 45 601 979 33.20% <10 48 142 303 <10 35 442 1,101 12.08% <10 72 109 249 <10 48 617

2 0 1 8  1 9 S T U D E N T  T E A C H E R DEMOGRAPHIC BREAKDOWN

36, 38

5 Bradley

36 38

6 Broadway 7 Buckalew

672

8.78% <10 73 23 116 <10 27 429 37, 41

8 Bush

783 14.81% <10 56 34 124 - 815 79.02% <10 <10 <10 484 -

<30 531

41

DISTRICTWIDE STATE AVERAGE

9 Creighton

<10 309 40 41 409 37 <20 450 47

10 David

641 10.45% -

57 23 111

- -

STUDENTS

TEACHERS

11 Deretchin

831

7.34% <10 108 35 217

8.1%

12.6%

5.4%

10.6%

12 Ford

875 71.77% <10 14 118 452 <10 22 259 38, 43

AFRICAN AMERICAN

13 Galatas 14 Giesinger 15 Glen Loch 16 Hailey 17 Houser 18 Houston 19 Kaufman

609 5.58% <10 100 <10 96 - 796 41.21% <10 <50 115 169 -

<10 395 37, 41 47 419 39

0.5%

0.4%

0.3%

0.3%

AMERICAN INDIAN

598 47.49% <10 18 71 207 <10 16 282

44 44

ASIANPACIFIC ISLANDER

4.6%

4.7%

1.1%

1.9%

615 46.83% <10 51 99 176 -

<30 262

533 63.79% <10 23 107 206 <10 19 171

43, 44

642 92.52% <10 <10 105 484 - 891 22.78% <10 <30 70 168 -

36.6%

52.6%

14.1%

27.7%

<10 47

42

HISPANIC

34 586 43

3%

2.4%

0.9%

1.1%

20 Lamar 21 Milam

801 43.45% <10 84 52 300 <10 33 318 44

MULTIPLE RACES

710 78.45% <10 <10 <10 415 -

12 263

40

47.2%

27.4%

78.1%

58.4%

WHITE

22 Oak Ridge 23 Patterson

651 56.53% <10 12 55 286 <10 31 258 43

945 64.76% <10 <10 38 537 <10 19 335

35

SOURCE: TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

24 Powell 25 Reaves

861

23.11% <10 81 86 161

<10 43 485 37, 24

DEMOGRAPHICS

708 74.72% <10 12 108 356 <10 22 201 617 61.26% <10 24 62 266 <10 13 247 754 13.40% <10 73 38 123 <10 33 482

39 39 37

26 Rice 27 Ride

JUNIORHIGH SCHOOLS 201920 DATA

28 Runyan

596 85.74% <10 <10 41 415 -

10 123 42, 35

29 San Jacinto 30 Snyder 31 Stewart 32 Suchma 33 Tough 34 Wilkinson

607 76.77% <10 <10 11 351

-

<10 227

40

Feeder schools

1,119 13.14% <10 67 114 187 <10 44 695 36, 38 990 23.74% <10 <10 36 239 <10 31 674 49 905 39.45% <10 59 150 265 <10 36 389 45

45 Irons 46 Knox

1,144 1,479 2,132 1,173 1,447

43.71% <10 40 148 421

<10 46 484 57

25.90% <10 107 113 416 -

<80 760 53

47 McCullough 48 Moorhead

9.47% <20 187 75 529 <10 91 1,235 58

860 6.63% <10 119 <30 198 -

35 486 47

76.56% <20 <10 22 697 -

12 429 52

706 48.02% <10 11

67 196 <10 16 409 35

49 Peet

52.32% <10 43 167 637 <10 38 557

54 54 55

DEMOGRAPHICS

50 Washington

964

38.80% <20 <10 87 741

-

12 111

51 York

1,670

20.12% <10 89 235 444 <20 67 823

INTERMEDIATE SCHOOLS 201920 DATA

DEMOGRAPHICS

Feeder schools

HIGH SCHOOLS 201920 DATA 52 Caney Creek 53 College Park

35 Bozman 36 Clark 37 Collins

949 63.01% 11

12 50 513 -

32 331

49, 50

930 17.53% <10 41 112 211

<10 29 532

51

721

9.99% <10 61 38 155 <10 35 427 45, 46

38 Cox 39 Cryar

903 21.48% <10 58 124 230 <10 37 449 51

2,085 3,170 4,243 2,108

72.95% <10 <10 29 1,213 -

29 799 91.5%

805 53.42% <10 35 111 309 <10 23 321

49

19.31% <10 281 248 887 <10 109 1,630 96.2% 57.58% <20 83 470 2,365 <10 78 1,227 94.8% 20.73% <10 98 282 547 <20 77 1,083 N/A

40 Grangerland

1,198 78.13% <10 <10 <10 725 -

54 Conroe

<10 449 48

41 Mitchell

1,208 11.01% <10 106 51 237 <10 41 769 47

55 Grand Oaks*

42 Travis 43 Vogel

680 90.88% <10 -

56 Hauke*

142

82 541

-

<10 43 49, 50

54.23% <10 -

18 60 -

<10 62 80.7%

944 44.39% <10 27 125 360 <10 40 384 45 756 17.59% <10 31 91 273 <10 29 326 46, 47

57 Oak Ridge

3,013 4,355

30.53% <20 116 384 991

<10 100 1,402 94.8%

44 Wilkerson

58 The Woodlands

7.81% <20 293 184 1,084 <10 153 2,624 98.2%

16

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