One of the most important things Clear Creek ISD can do is effectively collaborate with the communities it serves, including city councils. As the west side grows, we’ll need to work with the City of League City to ensure we have the infrastructure required to support new schools, as well as anticipate and plan for growth to avoid overcrowding at our existing campuses.
Growth Is Inevitable
According to a Fall 2018 demographic report prepared by Templeton Demographics, there are roughly 1,270 lots throughout the district available today on which homes will be built, and 3,200 additional future lots planned. On the west side, the Westwood subdivision alone is adding approximately 100 new homes per year.
The district will also need to add capacity to accommodate neighborhoods that don’t even exist yet. Three PUDs are on file for future residential activity: Westland Ranch, the former McAlister Tract, with 1,026 lots planned for CCISD; Lloyd PUD, with 1,220 acres that will be split with Santa Fe ISD; and Duncan Tract PUD, consisting of 3,500 lots that will be split among CCISD, Dickinson ISD, and Santa Fe ISD.
Put simply, we must ensure we have the roads, utilities, and other infrastructure ready in the next few years in order to construct at least one more new elementary school (likely at an already-planned site southwest of Campbell, in the Westland Ranch PUD). Whether we like it or not, growth is inevitable. It is better to be prepared and make the effort now to make sure our infrastructure is ready for the students of the future.
We can already see how the ramifications of ineffective collaboration have had a negative impact on our supporting infrastructure. For example, on League City Parkway, as you drive west from Bay Area Blvd. to Campbell Elementary, the road goes from a median-separated highway, to a regular road, then back again, all in the span of about a mile. This poorly planned roadway design will unnecessarily slow traffic, especially as more homes are built, and creates unnecessary safety challenges for students walking or riding bicycles to school.
We’ll also want to avoid any contentious permitting battles like we have seen in the past. Many may not realize that when Bauerschlag Elementary and Goforth Elementary were being built, the City of League City threatened to pull CCISD’s building permits because it wasn’t investing enough in supporting infrastructure. The incident could have been avoided.
The clear solution is that there should be a lot more communication between CCISD and League City. Particularly when it comes to future schools and supporting infrastructure, we need collaborative efforts, especially information sharing on demographics reports, and collecting and analyzing input from the areas of the community that will be affected.
Collaborating in a Crisis
Even more important is our need to collaborate with our communities in a crisis. Our recent snowstorm and subsequent power outage illustrated the importance of effectively using our resources and working with the cities we serve. Here in League City, we had a warming station at Hometown Heroes Park – but that’s not enough for a city of over 100,000. Additionally, many of us weren’t comfortable with driving very far when the roads might have been icy.
CCISD did step up during the weather event by offering hot meals to first responders and lunch pickup for its students. The District also provided the City of League City with nearly 3,000 gallons of fuel, according to its District Update on Feb. 22, 2021. This was incredibly helpful to our community.
As a Trustee, I would like to see additional collaboration with our surrounding communities. This can mean having a plan in place to open up school gymnasiums, particularly on the west side of League City, as warming stations or day shelters. School districts in Austin and the Dallas area were able to do so after the storm and subsequent power outage, and Hays ISD used its school buses as warming stations.
Ways to Collaborate Successfully
CCISD serves 13 different municipalities within its boundaries. There is a lot of information to share between city councils and the district, and here are a few ways that we can do this:
- Establish joint city council/Board of Trustees committees to discuss policies and developments that affect both, such as legislative priorities.
- Ensure Board meeting minutes, highlights, and publications are available for review by city officials. If something of particular importance is going to be voted on, such as something that will require permitting, as a courtesy ensure that city officials have the opportunity to provide input.
- Share research findings, such as demographic reports, between city and district officials.
- Make a point of inviting city council members when forums are held to discuss issues that affect the city. (And vice versa.)
- Involve city council members in strategic planning discussions.
As a Trustee representing District 5, I’ll work to collaborate with city council members in League City, and encourage communication with the city councils of the municipalities we serve. The more information we share, the better prepared we are to serve students, families, and taxpayers in the district.