The Denison Independent School District is considering whether it is in need of more elementary schools.
Denison ISD’s board of trustees recently approved a committee to study the issue of possibly opening new schools. Once that committee reports back to the district, the board will study the issue with the architects, Superintendent Henry Scott said, and be ready by August should it need to call a bond election for November.
During the meeting, Scott said the district has experienced unexpected growth at the elementary level. He explained the district has gone from seven to five elementary schools in the past few years. The two that were closed, he said, could not be secured and in those same few years, the district has grown by some 400 students.
Space is good at the high school and the intermediate school level, Scott said, but not so much at the primary level. Things are especially tight, he said, at Hyde Park Elementary, Mayes Elementary and Lamar Elementary.
“We’ve got a little space at Houston, we’ve got a little space at Terrell, but we do not have space at those other campuses,” Scott said before adding that school officials took that concern to the board back in March.
The board agreed to allow the officials to pull together a committee to study the issue and it was decided the committee would be made up of members of the 2010 Facilities Planning Committee.
Scott said 19 out of the 25 members of the committee agreed to come back and work on this new issue. The district then decided, he said, to add Parent Teacher Organization presidents from all five DISD elementary schools, one elementary teacher and one elementary principal. The group will be aided by district staff members and consultants serving as information providers for the committee.
If the group determines that a bond issue is recommended, the board material said, it should be fiscally conservative, emphasizing cost effective solution. The materials also said, the group’s recommendations “should address immediate facility needs of the school district to the extent members feel are financially prudent.”
The group will hold four meetings on Mondays at a different elementary school to allow the committee the opportunity study the issues facing those schools.
“Hopefully, the committee will finish their work by June,” Scott said. “Then report back to the board with a solution to the problem.”
During the current school year, Denison ISD has already had to submit two class size waivers to the Texas Education Administration in order to keep from splitting classrooms mid-year. Mayes Elementary School has been the site of those two class size waivers. The district had to apply for the first waiver earlier this year to allow the campus to keep its three first grade classrooms at 23 students each. TEA mandates the student-to-teacher ratio be below 22 students for every teacher.