MISD deeply concerned about capacity issues

MISD deeply concerned about capacity issues

Historical growth at high schools, junior highs leave little room for growing enrollments

May 5, 2023 — On Thursday, the Midland ISD Bond Planning Committee met for the fourth time. Members came to Barbara Yarbrough Elementary to learn more about and share their perspectives on a number of topics. 

HISTORICAL AND FORECASTED ENROLLMENTS SURGE AT MISD

 

Committee members heard from Pfluger Architects about MISD’s capacity trends. Over the past 10 years, total enrollment has increased by more than 4,500 students, and it’s forecasted that the district will grow by another 4,300 in the next decade.

 

Midland High School has gained more than 400 students and Legacy High more than 300 since 2013, and projections indicate these schools will have grown by more than 550 and 450, respectively, by 2033. Both MHS and LHS currently serve grades 10 through 12.

 

Junior high schools, which serve grades seven and eight, have grown by more than 800 students in the past 10 years, and it’s forecasted that enrollment will rise by just more than 1,000 in the next decade.

Capacity in current secondary facilities is already an issue for MISD, and Pfluger Architects presented the committee with a few options to address this. The district currently has two comprehensive high schools (MHS and LHS), two freshman schools (MFHS and LFHS) and four junior high schools (Abell, Alamo, Goddard and San Jacinto), excluding Young Women’s Leadership Academy, which is an in-district charter. 

 

One option is to build a new LHS and convert that campus and MFHS into middle schools serving students in grades six through eight. Existing junior high schools would be rezoned while maintaining current high school feeder patterns. All but LHS would be above the 80% functional capacity benchmark in 10 years, but would still be much lower than the current situation.

 

A second option is to build new MHS and LHS campuses and convert both into middle schools serving grades six through eight. These campuses are already very large, and projections show that all six middle school campuses in this scenario would be at or below the 80% functional capacity benchmark in 2032.

 

Conversation about elementary enrollment growth and capacity will be carried over to the committee’s next meeting.

BOND TAX IMPACT AT $21 PER MONTH FOR TYPICAL MIDLAND HOUSEHOLD

 

At the previous meeting, committee members indicated they preferred to build new Midland High and Legacy High campuses on new sites, which would cost between $820 million and $900 million. On Thursday, the committee learned that the estimated tax on a $900 million dollar bond program is only about $21 per month for the typical Midland household.

 

There would be no tax increase on residents who qualify for the 65 and older homestead exemption.

 

With inflation and rising construction costs continuing to rise, the tax impact of a bond on homeowners will likely increase if passage of a bond is delayed into the future.

Bond debt is taxed under the interest and sinking (I&S) rate, which is used to generate revenue to fund debt service. Midland’s current I&S rate is 0.0702, or about 7 cents for every $100 in property valuation. Passage of a $900 million bond would raise MISD’s I&S rate to 0.1662, which is in line with and below — in some instances, far below — other school districts in West Texas and the Panhandle.

 

Ector County ISD, for example, has an I&S rate of about 20 cents per $100 valuation. Lubbock-Cooper ISD currently is at the state maximum of 50 cents.

THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS TAKE PART IN CTE PROGRAMS — AND GROWING

 

Committee members heard from Jeff Horner, Executive Director of Career & Technical Education, who shared information about MISD’s robust CTE offerings. MISD offers 26 programs of study with 118 unique high school CTE courses. Students have the opportunity to earn industry-based certifications that prepare them for the workforce right out of high school and college credits, which give those seeking college a jumpstart. 

 

The most popular program of study is business, with nearly 1,200 students enrolled, followed by teaching, with about 500 students taking part in this program. In total 76% (5.458) of students in grades nine through 12 take part in CTE; 16% are in a dual-credit program.

 

One issue that MISD faces is getting freshmen to the appropriate campus to participate in several CTE programs. MISD is unique in that it has two freshman high schools, which only serve ninth graders, and two comprehensive senior high schools that serve students in grades 10 through 12. Because of this, students must be bused from their freshman campus to either their senior campus or a separate Midland College facility.

 

Damon Kennedy, MC Vice President of Instructional Services, spoke to committee members about how valuable the partnership between MISD and the college is for not only students, but the community. Kennedy noted that the Permian Basin faces significant workforce needs, particularly in the energy and health industries. Thanks to the MISD-MC partnership, high school students can take part in CTE programs focused on these areas.

ABOUT THE COMMITTEE

 

The Bond Planning Committee’s goal is to develop and recommend to the Midland ISD Board of Trustees a bond plan that addresses these facilities issues and prepares the district for future enrollment growth, evolving instructional programs and preventive maintenance.

 

The committee was formed after MISD’s Long-Range Planning Committee recommended to the board nearly unanimously Feb. 9 that one should be formed. Their conclusion was informed in part by a demographic study showing that MISD's aging facilities, particularly its high schools, cannot support the rapid and persistent growth the community is facing. The Long-Range Planning Committee began its work in August 2021 and presented initial recommendations to the Board of Trustees in November 2022.

SAVE THE DATE

 

Bond Planning Committee meetings are open to the public. Here are upcoming meetings.

  • June 1 at Bunche Elementary, 700 S. Jackson St.
  • June 20 at a location TBD.

 

All meetings begin at 6 p.m.

MORE INFORMATION

 

MISD’s Bond Planning Committee website will be updated with more information as the process continues. You can find it at midlandisd.net/bond.

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Media Relations Contact:

Trevor Hawes

Communications Specialist

432-240-1044 | trevor.hawes@midlandisd.net