Frequently Asked Questions
What is mission of the Community Strategic Planning Committee?
The committee was formed to seek solutions that will provide educational facilities for MISD's future growth in enrollment, taking into account program changes apt to occur. In order to forecast facilities needs, the committee necessarily had to look at likely trends in public education in the coming decades. Our charge: develop a 10-year plan and 20-year vision.
Educational goal: provide facilities and programs to prepare all students for post-secondary education, and flexibility to accommodate changes in technology for education.
Why do we need a long-range facilities plan?
The school board has the responsibility to anticipate future growth, providing facilities flexible enough to meet possible changes in educational strategies for the 21st Century, and develop a plan for funding needed expansion in a phased way. The CSPC is a community resource offering input for the board's policy decisions.
Enrollment projections, based on current population data, suggest we plan for enrollment of upwards of 24,000 by 2018 (current enrollment Fall 2008 is about 21,300). If enrollments are greater, plans can be adjusted in the out years.
Who makes up the Community Strategic Planning Committee?
The committee was formed in April 2008 and is comprised of 33 invited community members. They represent parents, business and professional organizations, real estate, banking, city government, chamber of commerce, educators, former school board members, nonprofit organizations, young adults, and senior citizens. All major ethnic groups within Midland are represented. (A list is attached. Not all members have been active since the April 2008 inception).
What has the committee been doing?
During the past year the committee has received comprehensive reports from MISD personnel, guided by consultant Dr. Arnold Oates of Texas School Planning, Inc. It reviewed various scenarios for school configuration and facilities needs, and has settled on what it calls "Scenario 2" as the ultimate configuration to be achieved as Phase 2 during 2012-2015.
In the meantime, the committee recommends a "Phase 1" school facilities enhancements plus the addition of one elementary school.
Phase 2 will involve reconfiguring grade levels: Pre-K through 5th grade; middle schools for grades six and seven; and senior high schools for grades nine through twelve.
Later, a Phase 3 will add another elementary school and convert an existing school to an Early Childhood Center.
What is the current grade configuration in our schools?
- Two stand-alone Head Start/Early Childhood Centers, four more on elementary campuses, plus one at a private daycare center (EnviroKids), for a total of seven sites;
- 23 K-6 elementary schools (four with Pre-K programs);
- A gifted/talented campus for part time instruction at Carver School;
- Four junior highs for grades 7 & 8; two freshman high schools;
- Three senior high schools, including Coleman. (Coleman is an alternative school for qualifying students from throughout the entire district).
How is public education changing?
We have seen the advent and effectiveness of Early Childhood Education, Career & Technology Based Education, self-paced learning, as well as state-mandated programs such as new math and science courses (4 x 4), and dual credit courses for up to 12 hours college credit.
What are the benefits of early childhood education?
Early childhood education is a "human capital investment." Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke points to a growing body of research demonstrating the high returns that investments in ECE have garnered "in terms of subsequent educational attainment and in lower rates of social problems, such as teenage pregnancy and welfare dependency." This may also be the most efficient (cost-effective) means to boost the productivity of the workforce 15 to 20 years down the road.
What MISD is hoping to do is to increase the scale of Head Start/Early Childhood and Pre-K programs, and further along in the educational program expose young people to career and technology based education as part of the general program.
Who qualifies for early childhood programs?
Early childhood includes children 3-5 years of age. MISD currently serves 816 children ages 4 and 5 at seven sites. Eligibility and enrollment is based on income, language (Spanish-only speakers), military (active duty parent), foster care, and homeless. Also, children with identified special needs may be enrolled. The goal: attain the stage of development that enables the child to engage in and benefit from more formal educational experiences, in a word, readiness to learn.
Low-income children attending Pre-K are better equipped to succeed in school and in life. Research shows that human capital investments that start in early childhood can have impressive returns - $1 yields $3.50 in benefits according to one study.
The District estimates that within the next 10 years as many as 2,000 children ages three and four may qualify for federal and state funded early childhood programs.
The Texas Education Agency mandates that prekindergarten programs, at a minimum, do not exceed the 22:1 ratio required for kindergarten through 4th grade. Standards for Quality Programs for Young Children recommend 16:2 for three-year-olds, 20:2 for four-to-five-year-olds.
What kind of grade configuration and facilities additions/changes does the committee prefer?
MISD's current configuration includes two Head Start/ECC centers (with four additional schools with early childhood programs); 23 K-6 elementary schools; A center for elementary level gifted/talented students; four junior highs for 6-7; two 9th grade schools; three 10-12 grade schools (MHS, LHS, Coleman).
The committee has settled on a scenario that would have elementary schools with prekindergarten through 5th grade students, adding Head Start/Pre-K/Early Childhood classrooms; creating middle schools with grades 6-8; moving the ninth grades to centers within the high school campuses; and replacing West Early Childhood Center with a larger facility. The existing freshman schools would be changed to middle schools under this plan, and one new elementary school would be added in Phase 1, and a second elementary in Phase 3.
The committee envisions undertaking these changes in three phases over 10 or more years.
What is included in Phase 1?
Maintain the current grade configuration, 2010-2012
The Plan: Construct a new elementary school for an enrollment of 800 students to replace Burnet Elementary School; convert Burnet Elementary to a Head Start/ECC school for 500 students; expand Carver School as a full day Gifted/Talented Elementary School for 400-450 students; build additional infrastructure and MHS and LHS; and expand Coleman High School to accommodate 400 students. Also, establish a new Early College program at Midland College for 375-400 students who would attend at MC.
What is included in Phase 2?
Reconfigure grade alignments, 2012-2015
The Plan: move 9th grades to senior high campuses; build 9th grade centers at MHS & LHS; Crockett Elementary becomes a Head Start/Pre-K/ECC school for 500; relocate 6th grades to middle schools (6-8); convert elementary schools to grades K-5; convert the two freshmen schools to middle schools.
What is included in Phase 3?
Add one elementary school and convert one to an ECC school, 2015-2018
The Plan: Construct a new elementary school for 800; convert Emerson to Head Start/Pre-K/ECC for 500. This plan will provide facilities to add 3-year-olds to Early Childhood programs.
When and how much will the bond election be?
That is up to the school board, based on input from the CSPC, MISD staff, and the community. November 2009 is the most likely date for any or all of the three phases outlined above. (Costs are yet to be determined).
The community has a choice: plan one bond issue to include three phases of facilities additions and enhancements through 2018, or do it in separate bond elections at intervals. There are advantages and disadvantages to either approach.
MISD is one of only 16 districts in the state with an AA rating by Standard & Poors.
Last year total valuations within MISD were about $9.3 billion. It is expected that values will be relatively flat this year. Total bonded indebtedness as of February 2009 is approximately $128 million, or 1.4 % of total valuations.
Current interest & sinking fund tax is $0.125 per $100 valuation. Each $50-million in bonds would add approximately $0.039 per $100. On residential properties this increase would be about $39 per year per $100,000 in value, or $3.25 per month. So, if a home is assessed at $200,000 the tax would be twice, or $6.50 per month.