Thursday, September 13, 2007

New Elementary School Underway

Located on a 13 acre site at Northpointe Blvd. and Northpointe Road, elementary school number six will relieve Lakewood and Willow Creek Elementary Schools as they reach maximum capacity. The campus will serve students in grades pre-kindergarten through four, and will feature classroom wings situated around a centrally located library and amphitheatre. The design also features a computer lab, cafeteria, food service area, a teacher workroom, music and art rooms, special needs classrooms, a gymnasium, and a drop-off/pick-up loop. The 100,709 square foot school is scheduled to open for the fall of 2008.

Friday, March 02, 2007

TISD Kids Matter

On March 6th, the Tomball ISD School Board will call for a bond election. The bond will be for nearly $200 Million dollars and include a New High school. The next step in this long process is making sure the bond passes. Several TISD residents have established a PAC to work towards that goal. You can learn more about TISD Kids Matter Vote Yes at the their website.

Monday, October 30, 2006

An Open Letter to Tomball ISD Board of Trustees

An Open Letter to Tomball ISD Board of Trustees

First, I would like to thank each of your for your time and effort you have committed to Tomball ISD and to our childrens education.

The future of Tomball ISD is important to me, as I have three children either already attending or about to attend various schools in Tomball. Therefore, I did what every parent should do if they want a say in the future of their children, I got involved. I have spent the last few months as a member of the subcommittee on Student Growth as a part of the overall facilities study currently in process. It has been, at times, a frustrating experience, but very educational.

As the subcommittee on Student Growth puts the finishing touches on our proposal to be submitted to the Steering Committee, I wanted to let you know some of my concerns. I applaud Tomball ISD for engaging the members of the community to be a part of this process. It allows the community to have an influence on our children’s future and ensures that our children will have adequate facilities to help them be successful academically and in extracurricular areas as well. However, I understand our input is a recommendation and nothing more. Our proposal will be presented to the Steering Committee and eventually to you, the Board of Trustees. Based on the results of the last Facilities Study, it is likely that the final proposal, which will eventually be voted on in a bond election, will look nothing like our original proposal.

Typically, the response to this problem would be to vote down the bond proposal and hope to have it rewritten to better meet the needs of the district. However, due to the failure of the District Administration to begin the Facilities Study process in the recommended 5 year time frame, we will have a huge over crowding problem in our district if the bond does not pass. It is imperative that we get this right the first time. In my opinion, a bond proposal that does not include a New High school at the Shaw road location will fail. This will delay the bond at least 6 months until the November election. This will jeopardize our ability to provide much needed elementary schools by the 2009-10 school year. Enrollment at Lakewood Elementary would be 375 students over the operational capacity, Willow Creek would be over by 341, Rosehill over by 86 students, and Decker Prairie over by 50 students.

As you can see, our elementary schools will have expanded well beyond their capacity over the next two years. If a passable bond proposal is not on the ballot in May of 2007, the education of our children will suffer. During the Facility Study process, it became apparent that there was an overwhelming majority in the District in support of a new high school in Tomball. It is that same majority that will ensure a successful bond election in May.

Once again, I appreciate everything you have done and will continue to do in the future. I am sure you and your colleagues will develop a Bond proposal that addresses all the issues facing Tomball ISD today and in the near future.

Thanks again,

Thomas C. Young

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Vote for the Tomball Mascot

You can follow this link and vote for the Tomball Mascot. If he wins, Tomball High School gets $5,000.

You can vote everyday through October 27th.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

October 10th Meeting Overview

The Sub-Committee is back to the original size, around 25 people. We spent the first 1.5 hours going over information we had already covered and wasted a lot of time. Then we broke out into 3 sub-sub-committees, one for the new high school, one for the Junior highs and one for Elementary and Intermediate schools. Each group was to determine the best solution for each level in the follow areas:

1. Determine how many new schools would be needed.

2. The time frame of when each school would be needed.

3. The location of each school.

Each group will then present their proposals to the group as a whole for further discussion. This process began in the last 20 minutes of the meeting and it was the only real value that came out of the meeting.

I served on the group looking at Elementaries and Intermediate schools. We generally agreed that we would need to build the following schools:

1. K-4 Elementary in Northpointe - Construction to begin immediately
2. K-6 in The Woodlands area that would be converted to a K-4 - Construction to begin immediately
3. Intermediate School in The Woodlands - Construction to begin after the K-6 is complete.
4. Another K-4 Elementary in the north part of the district. Construction would begin sometime around 2009/2010.

We have land for the first three schools, but do not have land or a specific location for the last elementary.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Meeting Tonight

The Agenda states that the meeting tonight starts at 7:00pm, it actually starts at 7:30pm at Tomball Int. School Auditorium.


Vote on New High School

As most of you probably already know, the sub-committee voted on the 9th Grade Campus vs. a New High School campus at the last meeting. The vote was 123-24 in favor of a new High School. We still have a lot of work to do on the sub-committee and I hope the large attendance does not disappear now that the vote has been taken.

There still may be a push by certain sub-committee members to include an option for a 9th grade campus in our proposal. The way the issue was worded prior to the vote did not indicate that it would be possible but stranger things have happened.

There is clear support by a "vast" majority of sub-committee members, and I believe in the community as well for a new High School. We CANNOT give the Steerring Committee and Board an option. It is true, they still can change our proposal before it gets to a bond election, but we cannot give them the opportunity to say that a 9th grade campus was a solution we supported.

Agenda for October 10th Meeting

October 10, 2006
Student Growth/Instructional Facilities Sub-Committee
Facility Study Committee
Date: October 10, 2006
Time: 7:00 PM
Place: Tomball Intermediate School Auditorium
723 West Main, Tomball, TX 77375
The auditorium is a separate building located near the southwest corner
of the school on Vernon Street south of Main.
1. Discussion of timeline for remaining meetings
2. Discussion of final report development process
3. Create subcommittees to develop facility need/construction flow charts. This will
include timelines, general locations and estimated costs in 2006 dollars.
4. Presentations from each of the above committees
5. Discussion and support of final facility need/construction flow charts.
All members should review, print and bring to the October 10 meeting a copy of
Sections 1 – 5 of the 1999-2006 Student Growth Committee Report. It can be found on
the website listed below. Please note that this report includes six sections. The final
section, Administrative Facilities, will not be needed for our committee.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Article to appear in the Potpourri this week

Tisd steering committee

By Brandon Moeller
Potpourri Staff Writer

The over-whelming majority of residents who attended a Tomball school district future growth planning subcommittee meeting last week seemed to be in favor of the district building a new high school opposed to creating a campus geared to ninth graders only. The issue was to be voted on by members of the subcommittee Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. at the auditorium located adjacent to the campus of the Tomball Intermediate School, 723 W. Main in Tomball.

Last week’s meeting was held at the Tomball Independent School District bus barn, which nearly brimmed at its capacity as many newcomers – spurred to attend by mass e-mails and flyers – listened to presentations from two points of view.

The leader of the subcommittee, Brent Lapsley – who also serves as the president of the Tomball Economic Development Corp. and who is the vice president of Houston engineering consulting company Paradigm Consultants – started off the meeting by dismissing rumors and giving an overview of a steering committee process that began two months ago.

“To become a member of the subcommittee, you’ll need to fill out a member form,” Lapsley said, to dispute a rumor that newcomers were not allowed to join. “The subcommittee will vote – but the word ‘vote’ is only to determine if we have a (vast) consensus, and that’s it.”

Lapsley said those who attended the Oct. 3 voting meeting could have become members that day by merely filling out a form that would include them on the subcommitte’s roster.

In previous meetings, the group has decided that construction of a new “flex” K-6 school needs to begin in The Woodlands as well as an elementary school in the Northpointe area to meet projected enrollment numbers. In The Woodlands, the eighth and newest village – Creekside Park Village – is set to open in mid-2007, and by the year 2014 is expected to add more than 5,400 school-aged children to Tomball ISD classrooms.

The group has also previously agreed that construction needs to begin in 2009 on an intermediate school for The Woodlands area as well as an additional elementary school in the district, as well as construction beginning on a new junior high school somewhere in the district in 2010.

Last week’s meeting was to present information to help the subcommittee decide if the district should build a new high school or use the existing Tomball Junior High School as a ninth grade campus and then build a new Junior High School beginning in 2007.

Each side was allotted a 20-minute presentation, but during this week’s meeting, additional presentations from both sides were to be made, prior to the subcommittee vote to determine if a vast consensus could be reached.

At the first meeting of the subcommittee two months ago, Lapsley said he’d like to see the “vast majority” of the subcommittee make a recommendation to the TISD school board-appointed steering committee about what recommendation it in turn should make to the school board.

The school board is then expected to make the final decision March 6 about what – if any – type of school bond issue should be put to voters in May.

Ninth grade campus
Last week, three subcommittee members made a presentation to present the idea of the district utilizing a ninth grade campus to handle the expected large increases of enrollment spurring from additional development in the Northpointe and The Woodlands areas. The idea this side favors is converting the existing Tomball Junior High School – located across the street from the current Tomball High School – into a ninth grade campus and having the district build a new junior high school.

Parent Debbie Pallini and teachers Terrie Ford and Julie Bentley, all members of the TISD-board appointed steering committee, made the presentation. Pallini and Ford spoke during a majority of the 20-minute presentation, and Bentley was unable to complete her portion of the presentation concerning how the district could fund the idea.

Ford spoke first about the “unique” problems of ninth grade students, and she said those problems could be addressed by separating ninth graders from the larger high school population.

“Ninth grade is a pivotal year that determines which students will prevail and which will fail,” Ford said. “Studies conducted in Texas in 2000 and 2001 show that 70 to 80 percent of students who fail to pass ninth grade will not graduate from high school. Kingwood High School states that their ninth grade went from a 9 percent failure rate to a 3 percent failure (rate) as a result of opening ninth grade-only campuses.”

Kingwood’s Ninth Grade Center – now in its 13th year – will eventually become a 4A high school with all four grade levels in the fall of 2009, as the Humble school district plans to add a grade level to it every year beginning next year.

Pallini spoke next, and she outlined the number of students expected to be enrolled in ninth through 12th grades in the district during the 2010-11 school year, with the projected number of The Woodlands students included.

Using TISD-provided projected numbers, Pallini said students expected in 2010 are 1,096 ninth grade students, 928 10th grade students, 872 11th grade students and 869 12th grade students, for a total of 3,765. She said if the district were to use Tomball Junior High School as a ninth grade campus and retain the existing Tomball High School to serve 10th through 12th grade students, then the total “operational capacity” – defined as the maximum number of students the schools can hold – for both schools is 4,769. With an expected enrollment of 3,765 in 2011, Pallini said the two high-school-age campuses will be at a 78.9 percent operational capacity.

But, Pallini said the ninth grade campus itself would be at a 98.6 percent operational capacity, or 15 students shy of the operational limit.

“This assumes that all ninth grade students would be at the TJHS building (all the time), but many ninth grade students will be taking one or two classes at the THS building,” Pallini said. “At any time, the THS building may be more crowded than the 73.5 percent and the TJHS building may be less crowded than the 98.6 percent.”

Pallini said that classes could be balanced between the two schools for ninth graders, to delay the necessity of another high school or another set of a ninth grade campus coupled with high school until past the 2014-15 school year, when a 94.8 percent operational capacity is expected for a ninth grade and high school combination.

“I’ve been a resident of the ( Lakewood area) for 18 and a half years,” Pallini said. “When I joined this subcommittee, I was so excited about a high school on the south side of Tomball. I hate the drive to Tomball everyday (to drop off and pick up my children). But after reviewing the numbers, I think Tomball will need a new high school – but not right now.”

Pallini also said retaining one high school coupled with a ninth grade campus could provide more advanced placement and dual credit opportunities for students.

Bentley – who was given about two minutes to speak and who did not complete her presentation – briefly noted that according to information provided by the school district, using the existing Tomball Junior High School as a ninth grade campus and building a new junior high is significantly less expensive than building a new high school.

Under that plan, building a new junior high school and other schools needed to keep up with the projected student enrollment is expected to cost near $153 million.

New high school
J.P. Magill gave the presentation examining the new high school option. He said many school districts that had previously tried a ninth grade campus system had found it to be unpopular when compared to building smaller high schools.

“In a larger school, they focus on the top 10 percent, the worst 10 percent and the other 80 percent – where most of our students are – fall by the wayside,” Magill said. “Less than 30 high schools in Texas have more than 3,000 students, and Cy-Fair, one of our neighbors, is one of them.”

By using Tomball Junior High School as a ninth grade campus – with 1,111 students projected by 2012 – the 10th through 12th grade Tomball High School would have 3,628 students.

“With that many students, will we have gotten beyond what THS can teach students properly?” Magill asked.

Magill said the advantages of two smaller high schools include more opportunities for students in term of athletics and other extra-curricular activities, higher test results, a higher percentage of students progressing to college, higher student confidence levels and “students feeling part of the school community.”

Magill said that the projected enrollment suggests that both high schools would have a UIL 5A rating, as that ranking begins with 1,985 students. He also said that advanced placement courses “should not suffer.”

“Superintendent (John) Neubauer assured the community that programs will be maintained at both campuses,” Magill said, referring to comments allegedly made by Neubauer at a April 2006 meeting with parents at Lakewood Elementary School .

Building a new high school along with the other schools necessary to keep up with the projected growth would cost about $182.8 million, Magill said.

“That’s a hell of a lot of money,” Magill said. “But we have to build it now in order to be prepared.”

Magill said the ninth grade campus proponents would eventually have to consider renovating the current Tomball Junior High School in 2015, or they would have to build a new high school or a second ninth grade campus then. He said a new high school, based on projected 2012 costs, would cost the district an excess of $91.5 million in 2015, and building a new ninth grade campus would cost in excess of $60 million.

Magill said the decision to build a new high school along with the other needed schools, instead, would only cost $182.8 million, compared to $244.6 million (with a 2015 high school) or $213.1 million (with an additional 2015 ninth grade campus).

“It’s either we pay for it now, or we pay a lot more later,” Magill said.

E-mail Brandon Moeller at

August 14th Article from the Tomball Magnolia Tribune

New TISD committees to study facilities
By Brian WalzelTribune Staff

The Tomball Independent School District is looking to the community to help determine what, if any, new schools or facility upgrades the district may need in the next five years.
At an Aug. 7 open meeting, district officials outlined the functions of three subcommittees, which comprise the Tomball ISD Steering Committee, chaired by former Tomball High School graduate Stephen Hohl. The three subcommittees will examine the educational adequacy of the district’s existing facilities, student growth and possible financing of new facilities for student and program growth.
According to the district, the Board of Trustees recently commissioned a study to be conducted by members of the Tomball ISD community to assess the needs for facility improvements and expansion for the years 2006-07 through 2010-11.
The three subcommittees, made up primarily of members of the district community, will meet throughout the fall semester before presenting their findings to the Steering Committee, which will then make a recommendation to the Tomball ISD Board of Trustees.
Hohl said he expects the committees to assemble a good plan. “If we keep in mind what’s best for the district, I think we’ll get a good plan,” he said. The three subcommittees will examine three different aspects of the district and its growth. “These subcommittees will study such topics as demographics of the area, population projections, programs of other school districts, the district’s current financial position and methods of financing capital expenditures,” the district stated.
In 2004, officials with The Woodlands Operating Company announced plans to develop another village, Creekside Village, a development that will lie within the boundaries of the Tomball ISD. The village is set to open in early 2007 and a new elementary school is already on the horizon, district officials have said.
The subcommittees may also consider the possibility of building a new ninth grade campus and making improvements to the district’s current facilities. One of the requirements the school board has put on any new facilities the committees consider, is that kindergarten through sixth grade campuses should be built close to neighborhoods.
The Steering Committee will be comprised of a representative cross-section of the district, including students, staff, parents, business and community members and administrators. Meeting community expectations, Hohl said, is a key component to the success of the project. “What we do needs to reflect what this community expects out of this school board,” he said.
School Board President Kathy Hanson said that board members likely wouldn’t be around much during the meetings, but not for a lack of interest. “After tonight, you won’t be seeing a whole lot us, but not because we’re not interested,” she said. Hanson said she wants the committees to work on their own, without the board “looking over their shoulder.” “We’d love to be at every meeting,” she said.
All committee meetings will be open to the public and committees are still open to those wishing to join. For more information, call the Tomball Independent School District at 281-357-3100.