When school district voters support a bond proposal, that new bond money frees up district funds that can be spent on teachers and curriculum instead of maintenance.
- Atascocita BizCom also scrutinizes Facebook rumors -
That’s the word from Humble ISD Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen who thanked voters during the Lake Houston Chamber’s Atascocita BizCom June 13 at Atascocita High School, describing why the teachers’ raise is so important to the district.
“Our trustees voted unanimously to give teachers a 7% raise, going way beyond what House Bill 3 requires,” Fagen said.
Fagen first gave a shoutout to State Rep. Dan Huberty who authored the legislation, then said the $575 million bond will fund construction and maintenance, allowing the trustees to allocate $18 million for teacher and staff raises rather than the $7 million required by the new law.
The generous teacher increase will make Humble ISD “… that more attractive,” Fagen said. “Schools are graduating fewer teachers each year and all school districts are attracting the same graduates.”
The trustees wanted to offer salary increases before any other district and they wanted to do it best by “… putting our money where our mouth is,” Fagen said.
Of the $575 million bond money passed by Humble ISD voters in 2018, $15 million will update HVAC systems, chillers, roofs, carpet, paint and energy controls.
“This isn’t as exciting as building a new school,” she said.
Atascocita High school will lose the multiple “temporary” buildings on their campus once the new classroom addition is completed. Atascocita also will get a new weight room and a third gym.
The older elementary schools that were built without multi-purpose rooms will get them and Lakeland Elementary, the oldest building currently in use, and the 42-year-old Kingwood Middle School will both be torn down and rebuilt, she said.
Residents can keep track of all district building projects at humbleisd.net/bond2018.
Good schools don’t just attract good teachers, they attract good businesses, too, according to Mark Mitchell, president of the Lake Houston Greater Economic Development Partnership.
“Economic development cannot be done effectively without good schools,” Mitchell said. “It’s important to remember that, when national and international businesses contact me, they want to know what kind of school district we can offer their children and the children of their employees.”
Mitchell compared the Atascocita ZIP Code, 77346, to other Houston-area zips, pointing out the huge swath of “green” on a Houston-area map representing Atascocita. He declared the area in a great position for future growth.
With growth comes rumors and Atascocita BizCom Chair Deborah Rose Miller said the BizCom planning committee identified three issues that Atascocita residents discuss on Facebook.
The first Facebook rumor is construction underway at FM 1960 just west of Pinehurst Trail.
That is a new substation being built by CenterPoint Energy, according to CenterPoint representative Scott Cryer.
“We evaluated the need for a substation in 1999,” Cryer said, “formalized plans in 2005 and purchased the land in 2009.”
When it is completed and online possibly in 2022, Cryer says the substation will add electricity capacity and reduce the number of outages.
“We can’t prevent a tree from falling and causing an outage but, with the new substation, fewer homes will be affected,” Cryer said.
The second rumor is construction at Eagle Springs Parkway and Will Clayton Parkway.
“It’s not a storage unit,” BizCom attendees were assured by representatives from The Fordham at Eagle Springs. The site is the future home of a luxury retirement community which already has built a similar community in Clear Lake.
The final topic was information about the Big Rivers Waterpark and Adventures which opened recently in New Caney. The project has developed 81 of the 631 acres it owns and is expected to become a Houston landmark and tourist destination attracting 450,000 visitors a year. Land has been set aside south of the waterpark to include 15 softball fields.
The entire Grand Texas Sports and Entertainment District, including the waterpark, will cost $1.1 billion when completed, will include at least 300 seasonal and annual positions, and provide a tax boost to Montgomery County.
The next Atascocita BizCom is Nov. 7, at Atascocita High School. There is no cost, but registration is required. To register for the BizComs, visit lakehouston.org.