At its Nov. 18 meeting, the LISD Board of Trustees reviewed the district’s annual demographer report, approved a charter for the Elementary School 29 naming process, and discussed next steps following the November bond election.
The Board also recognized outstanding students and heard from campus leaders at Whitestone Elementary School as part of the Spotlight on Learning.
Annual demographer’s report predicts continued growth, need for new schools
While long-term enrollment growth estimates have slowed slightly, the district’s annual demographic report nevertheless predicts Leander ISD to add nearly 2,000 new students in 2022. This is on top of our growing enrollment this school year, as the district is nearing 42,000 students. According to Populations and Survey Analysts (PASA), we will need to open eight schools (six elementary, one middle and one high) in the next decade to keep up with an expected 9,000 new students.
Most of the growth is expected in the northern part of the district, where we’ve seen the majority of a 26% acceleration in new housing construction, spurred by historically low mortgage rates. Regeneration (older homeowners selling to younger homeowners) in our neighborhoods is expected to be driven by the area’s growing Millennial population.
“The annual demographer report is a snapshot in time of our community, and we see subtle but distinct changes from one year to the next,” Board President Trish Bode said. “The overarching theme continues to be that we are in a growing, vibrant and diverse community, and that will continue over the next decade.”
Click here to view the 2021 Demographic Update Presentation. The district receives an annual demographic report that predicts population shifts within our boundaries. This helps in planning for new facility construction and the balancing of staff and district resources.
Trustees discuss next steps to manage growth in wake of November bond election results
We’re exploring our options in the wake of the November 2 bond election. Voters approved only one of three propositions (Prop B, which focused on technology replacement), leaving questions to answer in how to accommodate the continuing growth in our district. Options to address this challenge include:
- using fund balance (the district’s savings account),
- reallocating operational budget (currently used predominantly for staffing),
- redrawing attendance zones to balance enrollments,
- utilizing portable classrooms and buildings, or
- calling another bond election.
With proposition B passing, the district can replace laptops, tablets, printers, and other technology devices used by students and staff once they reach the end of their replacement cycle. The proposition also funded the replacement of projectors with interactive television panels, but the necessary classroom renovation to install the new technology existed in the rejected proposition A.
Trustees discussed next steps:
“I think we‘ve been given the gift of time, so we should really be looking at (building elementary) campuses that can hold 1,000 (students),” Board Secretary Elexis Grimes said. “We’re seeing this kind of growth in the north and I think this helps us adjust to this. Give principals at an elementary campus the facility if those students are going to be there anyway.”
”I personally would like to see a complete topic and agenda item on rezoning the entire district for elementary, middle and high school,” Trustee Anna Smith said. “We see the demographer report. How can we maximize the utilization of the buildings we have? Can we be more creative?”
“We didn’t just see the bond issue fail, we saw a significant deterioration in about 90 days in confidence in the district, district leadership, this team of 8,” Trustee Aaron Johnson said. “I think we have to own that. In a 90-day period, it wasn’t just a concern about the language of the ballot initiative, it was about us. It was about the product we’re delivering to the community or the perception of that product. We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our community to dig deeply into the reasons behind that.”
Naming charter for Elementary School 29 gets underway with approval of charter
Trustees approved the administration’s process and parameters for a charter to name Elementary School 29, located in the Bryson subdivision of Leander, through a School Naming Committee. We will start working to collect the community voice on naming nominations via a digital form and aim to bring a recommendation to the Dec. 16 Board meeting.
The School Naming Committee will be made up of ES 29 attendance zone residents and will:
- Review submissions from the entire Leander ISD community for school names.
- Select no more than one recommendation per category outlined in CW (Local).
- Provide a report to the Board of Trustees to review the submissions and selection(s) as part of the committee’s recommendation.
The district plans to operate under the following timeline:
- Open electronic form for the public to submit names: Nov. 19 – Dec. 5
- Meet with the Committee: Dec. 6 – Dec. 8
- Present recommendation(s): Dec. 16
Trustees continue strategic planning
The Board continued its long-range strategic planning process, which is grounded in the district’s core beliefs, vision, mission and graduate profile. Trustees’ discussion centered on goal statements, impact statements and key questions.