Cy-Fair

Houston Chronicle members

Not Logged In Login / Sign-up

NOW
87 o

CYPRESS-FAIRBANKS SCHOOL DISTRICT

Enrollment up 5,000 from last year

Most of growth is west of Barker Cypress

By FLORI MEEKS Chronicle Correspondent

Aug. 1, 2006, 3:00PM

Share

Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District will be starting the school year with some familiar challenges, including extensive student growth, and a few new ones, Superintendent David Anthony said.

District enrollment is approximately 93,000 this year, which represents more than 5,000 more students than last year.

Most of the growth is occurring west of Barker Cypress Road, both north and south of U.S. 290, Anthony said.

Cy-Fair is accommodating that growth with the new Cypress Woods High School, and three new elementary schools, Andre, Black and Postma.

The elementary schools, which are designed for about 1,000 students, are quickly filling, Anthony said, and one has topped 1,300.

One of his primary concerns is continuing to meet student needs in the face of rising expenses.

"We benefited our district with a great contract for electricity, but it ends in less than a year, and we're looking at a 70 percent increase in costs," Anthony said.

The district also faces increasing gasoline costs as it adds even more students and implements bus routes to accommodate them.

Last school year, Cy-Fair cut approximately $14 million from its budget through personnel and program changes, Anthony said, but he expects rising electricity and fuel costs to add $11-$14 million to next school year's budget.

The state has given school districts the ability to raise their tax rate by as much as 4 cents per $100 of evaluation, but Anthony said he's reluctant to do that to cover energy costs.

"Those are emergency pennies," he said.

Cy-Fair will try to be more efficient with personnel and operations, he said, but his top priority is providing students with a high-quality education.

"Public schools only exist for one reason: to education students. I don't think you can compromise on those high standards."

Not only is Cy-Fair's population growing, Anthony said, it's changing. The student demographics have been becoming increasingly diverse in recent years.

Cy-Fair will be working on fine-tuning its English as a second language programs and helping students exit bilingual programs earlier, Anthony said.

The changing demographics represent a good opportunity for the district, said Janet Hoover, assistant superintendent for elementary school administration.

"It's a challenge, but it's also very energizing," Hoover said. "Many of our schools are bilingual schools, and all of our schools are utilizing best practices to meet their students needs.

"No one can stay the same. I think change helps people grow and get better at what they do."

Another priority for Cy-Fair this year is technology, said Kelli Durham, assistant superintendent for communication.

Teachers this year will start posting students' grades online so parents can monitor them between progress reports and report cards. The grades should become available shortly after the first six-weeks marking period, Durham said.

"One of the things we want to enforce is this will be secure," Durham said.

Parents will receive a password and more details from their children's schools.

Cy-Fair also is implementing an event notification system, which has the ability to make 6,000-60,000 calls an hour. The system will be available for campus and district announcements.

In addition, Cy-Fair is implementing more technology in the classroom with funds from the 2004 bond election, Durham said.

The district is establishing more wireless campuses and utilizing technology carts that bring laptop computers to the students at the elementary and secondary levels.


Search
Chron.com Web Search by
YAHOO!
Businesses