FOSTERS RIDGE NEIGHBORHOOD REZONING
As school capacities become strained by the increasing population, an emergency rezoning took place in Conroe ISD late in the school year for 2022-23. Officials said an upcoming demographic survey will help determine if a bond referendum is needed for additional facilities.
Deretchin Elementary Bush Elementary
2 Bush Elementary School 1 Mitchell Intermediate School 3 Deretchin Elementary School
ALDEN BRIDGE DR.
DENALI WILDERNESS PKWY.
94 Fosters Ridge students moving from Bush to Deretchin
THUNDER BASIN PKWY.
BRANCH CROSSING RD.
Fosters Ridge to Mitchell: 3.7 miles Fosters Ridge to Deretchin: 6 miles Fosters Ridge to Bush: 4.7 miles
MERIT OAKS DR.
A total of 94 students from Zone 83F will move from Bush to Deretchin elementary schools in the 2022-23 year.
SOURCE: CONROE ISD/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
Conroe ISD eyes future bond needs as schools strain capacity
ESTABLISHING NEEDS The need for rezoning at Bush Elementary School highlights the need for a new demographic study and possible bond, officials said.
BY VANESSA HOLT
students and now has an enrollment of 951 students, placing it at 118% of maximum capacity, officials said. McCord said the Fosters Ridge neighborhood was considered for rezoning in 2019, but the current zoning was kept in place as long as possible to accommodate students. “The Bush campus doesn’t have the physical space inside and outside of the building to allow you to have the flexibility that Deretchin has,” he said. In addition,
Rapid growth The issues of enrollment growth are likely to persist in the region, McCord said. “Even growth within the last year has far exceeded expectations from an operations standpoint,” McCord said of Bush Elementary. The 94 students moving to Deretchin from Bush make up the current projection, but more students will be zoned to Deretchin as they move to the area, he said. The county is experiencing rapid growth, he said. This growth means that in addition to facilities planned through a 2019 bond referendum, another bond referendum could be required to meet future district needs, he said. McCord said a demographic study by Population and Survey Analysts is planned to begin this summer or early fall, after which the board could decide to move forward with forming a bond committee. “A bond issue could potentially occur within the next 18 months if we were to move forward,” McCord said. “We would use a bond committee that includes community members, and they would analyze what facilities would be needed, where they would be located and what grades those would serve.” However, land availability is also an issue, he said. Obtaining parcels of land large enough for a school in the areas where they are needed is a challenge, and he said the district is continually looking at those options.
Officials said a change to Conroe ISD zoning affecting the neighbor- hood of Fosters Ridge will reduce crowding at Bush Elementary School, and a demographics study set to begin this year will help determine whether a bond referendum is needed in the next 18 months for future districtwide facility needs as the population continues to grow. The attendance boundary change taking effect for
January 2021: Bush enrollment is 795 students.
Fall 2021: Bush enrollment is projected to be 820 for 2021-22 year. May 2022: Bush enrollment is 951, or at 118% of maximum capacity.
the 2022-23 school year will send 94 students at Bush Elementary—a kindergarten to fourth-grade school—to the
he said district officials did not want to remove trees, encroach on parking or place portables in playground areas. Reeves said one issue parents have
“A BOND ISSUE COULD POTENTIALLY OCCUR WITHIN THE NEXT 18 MONTHS." CHRIS MCCORD, CISD ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT OF OPERATIONS
Summer 2022: Demographic study planned
kindergarten to sixth-grade
August 2022: 94 students at Bush will go to Deretchin Elementary. Late 2023: A bond referendum is possible depending on the demographic study’s outcome.
Deretchin Elementary—an additional 1.3 miles away from the Fosters Ridge neighborhood, said Chris McCord, assistant superintendent of opera- tions at CISD. Many parents at Bush were taken off guard by the zoning change, said Caitlin Reeves, the president of the district’s parent-teacher organization, in a phone interview. Reeves said she learned about the rezoning May 4. “[On May 4,] they said, ‘We can’t fit the portables; we don’t have the
had with the change was it was not made until late in the school year. “It had to happen; we’re busting at the seams,” she said. “The district knew we were close to 950 [students]. ... I don’t know why they did not look into measuring and portables so fami- lies could have been told in March.” McCord said there are no other schools in the district being eyed for immediate zoning changes, but the district monitors and evaluates students entering grades five or six in the 2022-23 school year will have the option to request Mitchell Intermedi- ate for their school, and transportation will be provided to those students in the upcoming 2022-23 school year. schools on an ongoing basis. McCord said parents of Bush
SOURCE: CONROE ISD/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
Reeves said she believes a new kindergarten to sixth-grade school serving neighborhoods on the FM 1488 corridor could help alleviate some enrollment pressures within district schools in the area. “It can take three years from proposing a school and a bond to getting it built,” she said. “We’re going to be busting at the seams.”
space,’” she said. Strained school
According to information prepared by the district, Bush has a capacity of 800 students. It was projected to begin the 2021-22 school year with 820
THE WOODLANDS EDITION • JUNE 2022
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