The Bond Proposal
I strongly support the new bond issue and urge the voters of this district to affirm the proposal. I believe that the combined work of the Long Range Planning Committee, the Office of the Superintendent, and the current Board of Trustees reflect the best interests of the community in a balanced and forward looking manner. As a College Station homeowner, I am sensitive to the tax burden placed on our citizenry. As a parent of a CSISD student, I recognize the solemn responsibility of providing opportunity through education for our next generation.
It has been recognized for more than the last decade that A&M Consolidated faces a saturation point of around 2,500 students, even accounting existing expansion and future renovation, beyond which construction of a sister institution would be essential. Enrollment has now exceeded this number, and grows at a rate of approximately 100 additional students per year. Even with bond approval, planning and construction will span the next three years, during which the effects of overcrowding at Consolidated will continue to compound.
I applaud the foresight to envision a second institution with sufficient physical capacity and instructor support to offer an equivalent curricular and extracurricular student experience, so that we may avoid the plague of a caste mentality between our schools. I appreciate the conservative model of constructing initial core and common facilities to handle full enrollment, while delaying full classroom capacity for future expansion. I commend the generosity and sense of investment which the voters of College Station have always taken to the requests for upgrades in school facilities, and maintain confidence that they will make no exception in this case.
While the high school takes center stage in scope and expense, I believe that the other attached bond items - elementary number eight, a new transportation hub, building renovations and bus purchases - are also worthy of our support.
If the bond passes, CSISD will house eight elementary, four intermediate or middle, and two high schools. This halving of the number of facilities with each successive grade partition seems roughly appropriate. Younger students require constant vigilance, cannot navigate expansive complexes, and need smaller neighborhood schools. It is important for both their security and emotional wellness that they are personally known to a smaller number of familiar and caring faces. Older students benefit from the variety of specialized instructional and developmental options available to a more consolidated body. They are forming identity, and need the freedom to begin personalizing their education with elective courses and advanced placement. Although renovation of facilities for grades 5-8 was addressed in the 2007 bond, the 2009 package is focused on the younger and older age groups. I am sensitive to concerns that we not neglect the "middle child", but feel that the district has done an excellent job of directing finite resources to the areas of most pressing and immediate need.