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  1. Spring Branch ISD seems to be imploding lately. In a matter of less than a month’s time they have had two high profile situations that have raised serious concerns about SBISD’s ability to remain a highly rated district. In the first situation, Superintendent Jennifer Blaine and other high ranking individuals in the district, as well as the board members, have been flooding district families' inboxes imploring them to reach out to the state legislature, warning them that if the state doesn’t raise Spring Branch’s per-student allotment by $1,000, the following consequences will occur starting the 2024-2025 school year: Senators Paul Bettencourt and Joan Huffman have called the district’s claims “scare tactics” meant to “distract parents from how the school district is managing their local, state, and federal funds like their recent hiring of Austin lobbyists.” https://embed.documentcloud.org/documents/23778251-press-release-senator-joan-huffman-and-senator-paul-bettencourts-response-to-misleading-statements-made-by-spring-branch-isd-leadership/?embed=1&responsive=1&title=1 The second situation is Spring Branch canceling all school field trips to see Main Street Theatre’s production of James and the Giant Peach. SBISD received nationwide and international negative coverage over this. This decision came very soon after a mother gave a rambling, incoherent tirade claiming the performance had characters “in drag”. This mother is a frequent flyer at SBISD board meetings’ public comment periods, always spouting fringe right wing anti-CRT, anti-trans rhetoric, and attacking one of the more moderate board members, a Methodist pastor. The district should have known her complaint wasn’t credible, but ever since the the board was taken over by a majority of super-conservative trustees that ran as anti-CRT and anti-trans candidates in 2022, there is such a culture of fear among district employees that they fold to any complaint related to the board majority’s pet issues. After all the overwhelmingly negative publicity the decision brought down on the district, the district finally issued a statement where they claimed the decision was not based on Gerland’s comments, but unnamed teachers and parents had raised concerns about “movements that could be perceived as suggestive in nature that took place during the performance.” Criticism of the district’s decision has been fierce. David DeMatthews of UT’s Department of Educational Leadership was particularly scathing in his assessment of how Superintendent Blaine handled the situation: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/shows/town-square/2023/05/01/450546/spring-branch-and-the-giant-peach-the-reaction-to-the-cancelled-field-trip-over-cross-gender-casting/ To demonstrate how obsessed the new SBISD board is about culture war issues: In the midst of this crisis over Spring Branch’s financial sustainability, the board also discussed pulling out of the Texas Association of School Boards. This itself would have financial implications for the district, because it gets significant discounts in items like insurance, legal services, etc. Leaving TASB would raise costs for the district. So why was the board considering it? Because TASB’s guidance on transgender students wasn’t conservative enough for the SBISD board, and TASB didn’t distance itself from the National School Boards Association after NSBA sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking it to investigate the increase of threats of violence against school boards. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. I’m not sure how many people outside of Spring Branch were paying attention to what has been going on there before the James and the Giant Peach fiasco, but things are really bad there. Major crackdowns on teachers and students’ self-expression. Pretty oppressive new rules on what kind of décor teachers can have in their classrooms, what they can wear on their persons, like no rainbow pins on lanyards, etc, no pronouns in their email signatures, etc. Pulling books from libraries and teacher’s classrooms has been a big priority. The Newberry Award winning book New Kid is an example of a book that was challenged. The board passed a new policy that made it easier for parents to challenge books, and more heavily weighted parental input into the decision on whether a book is pulled or not. But then other parents started challenging all sorts of books to prove that the process was flawed, the board got furious and just started reviewing books themselves. Even books that have not been through any kind of review process have been peremptorily pulled, there are entire rooms at schools filled with pulled books. And board members have started going after vendors and threatening to cancel their contracts because they don’t like their perceived politics. They’re going after everyone from Blue Willow Bookshop, a beloved mom and pop store that has brought wonderful authors to speak at SBISD schools, just because Blue Willow’s social media is pro-inclusiveness and anti-censorship, to Scholastic, the national company that runs book fairs. There are also other reasons SBISD's political/cultural climate might not be appealing to open-minded, educated families looking for a place to move to.The Villages, the areas zoned for Memorial High School, are where the most rabid conservative trustees and their ardent supporters come from, and unsurprisingly, the climate there is incredibly racist. There is an entire section of the bleachers at Memorial home football games that yells racist and homophobic epithets at visiting school players and band members, has for years, and the administration hasn't done a thing about it. It's a school that has events like this: https://www.khou.com/article/news/local/thug-day-at-memorial-hs-called-out-for-racist-undertones/285-d076395c-f07b-4a0b-a087-aa4b28fa4eeb I see things going very badly for Spring Branch ISD over the next five years. Spring Branch is already having trouble recruiting faculty and staff. Classes like high school chemistry are running at as many as 60 kids per qualified teacher, who divides him time between two classrooms, with a student teacher pinch hitting for him in one when he’s in the other. Candidates are turning down job offers both because SBISD’s pay is not competitive and because they see the district in turmoil. When school boards go hard right on these culture war issues, teachers quit. Since Keller ISD’s board pushed to remove books about gender identity, teacher resignations went up 59%. After Granbury ISD pulled over 125 titles from library shelves, teacher resignations in that district shot up 115%. And now if SBISD staff think they might be laid off when other districts are scrambling for qualified applicants, well, I’d be looking for a job right now if I worked as SBISD. Teachers and staff will be signing their contracts for next year over the next month or so, will be interesting to see how many don’t resign with SBISD by the deadline. People pay the premium real estate prices and the premium taxes in the Memorial area for the SBISD schools. When schools can’t hire decent teachers, their performance and reputation goes downhill fast, and property values in the area follow, and it’s a self-sustaining process of decline. Now you have a district that is publicly on the brink of financial meltdown by its own characterization, you have teachers not wanting to work there because they don’t know if they’ll have a job there in a year and they can make more elsewhere, where they won’t have to fear their every word being scrutinized for “woke” leanings. Pretty soon you’ll see a mix of parents pulling their kids from public school because either they’re concerned about the declining educational performance, or because they are the kind that buy into the Moral Panic over CRT and gender identity, as well as people not wanting to move into a district with a national reputation of being small-minded, reactionary, and a local reputation of being financially unstable. That’s going to drive down the Average Daily Attendance used to determine funding, as well as drive property values down, that will only worsen SBISD’s financial woes, further drive down performance. I remember how in the 70s and 80s SBISD went from being a top-regarded district to second-rate pretty fast; teachers and administrators fled the district for growing districts in the suburbs, they had to close two high schools, Spring Branch High School and Westchester High School, and Northbrook High School went from a decent high school to the low-performing school it is now. I remember in the late 80s my parents thought about moving closer into town and considered buying a really nice house south of I-10, zoned for Memorial High School, but decided to stay in the far suburbs because they were worried they’d probably have to fork out for private school if they moved into SBISD. I see that fate repeating itself for SBISD this decade.
  2. Since we Don't have Subforums for various "Villages" or Spring Branch, so I'll be putting these here for now. In 2017 the residents of Spring Branch ISD passed a Bond Referendum. A major project, Memorial High School, is on the eve of a proposed high school reconstruction. In the first phase, several wings of the existing building will be demoed as well as existing tennis courts. The courts will be moved across the street to the east to make way for a 4 story expansion building and plaza. The other work consists of minor patchwork renovations which signals that this won't be only phase. I'm sure they will probably rebuild the entire school piece by piece. . Developer: SBISD Architect: Stantec Estimated Completion: 2Q 2022 Bond Info: https://www.springbranchisd.com/about/bond-2017/campus-bond-work/memorial-high-school SBISD Presentation (May 30, 2019): https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=44562189 Animation walkthrough: Images from presentation:
  3. Since we Don't have Subforums for various "Villages" or Spring Branch, so I'll be putting these here for now. In 2017 the residents of Spring Branch ISD passed a Bond Referendum. A couple of those projects will take place at Stratford High School. The current proposal calls for a demo of the existing auditorium and replace it with a new one. Other minor renovations include changes to the front entry and common areas. Developer: SBISD Architect: PBK Estimated Completion: 3Q 2021 Bond Info: https://www.springbranchisd.com/about/bond-2017/campus-bond-work/stratford-high-school This one is still going through various options. After that point, whichever option they choose will go into further refinement. SBISD Presentation (June 27th 2019): https://resources.finalsite.net/images/v1563393350/springbranchisdcom/lfxeynq4jeahqydlyc5t/2019-06-21_PAT06_FINAL_email.pdf Images from presentation:
  4. Since we Don't have Subforums for various "Villages" or Spring Branch, so I'll be putting these here for now. In 2017 the residents of Spring Branch ISD passed a Bond Referendum. One of the projects is a renovation/reuse of spaces in Spring Woods High School. Plans call for changes to the Dining Commons, a refreshed outdoor plaza stage, and changes to the library. Developer: SBISD Architect: PBK Estimated Completion: 3Q 2020 Bond Info: https://www.springbranchisd.com/about/bond-2017/campus-bond-work/spring-woods-high-school This is supposed to be under construction, but we are still waiting to see photo updates on the website SBISD Presentation (March 4, 2019): https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=44002225 Images from Presentation:
  5. Since we Don't have Subforums for various "Villages" or Spring Branch, so I'll be putting these here for now. In 2017 the residents of Spring Branch ISD passed a Bond Referendum. One of the projects is a proposed classroom addition to Northbrook High School. Currently, they are still in the early design phase, but all three options are calling for an addition of 3 stories. Developer: SBISD Architect: PBK Estimated Completion: 3Q 2021 Bond Info: https://www.springbranchisd.com/about/bond-2017/campus-bond-work/northbrook-high-school SBISD Presentation (May 21, 2019): https://resources.finalsite.net/images/v1560260636/springbranchisdcom/rynoaiokmxjfetlgugue/NHSPATMeetingPresentation4.pdf Images from presentation:
  6. Since we Don't have Subforums for various "Villages" or Spring Branch, so I'll be putting these here for now. In 2017 the residents of Spring Branch ISD passed a Bond Referendum. One of the projects is a proposed reconstruction of Landrum Middle School. The original 1950's era building will be demoed in a two phase operation where the new school will be built on the north part of the site in phase 1, and parking + bus dropoff + a practice field will be built in phase 2 after the demo. Developer: SBISD Architect: Stantec Estimated Completion: 3Q 2021 Bond Info: https://www.springbranchisd.com/about/bond-2017/campus-bond-work/landrum-middle-school Per the presentations it looks like the original idea to keep the gym has gone out the window in favor of a full rebuild. This one is pretty deep into Design Development. SBISD Presentation: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=44348092 Images from presentation:
  7. Since we Don't have Subforums for various "Villages" or Spring Branch, so I'll be putting these here for now. In 2017 the residents of Spring Branch ISD passed a Bond Referendum. Several of the projects are proposed renovations/use of spaces at Buffalo Creek, Cedar Brook, and Treasure Forest Elementary Schools. Since all three have similar scopes, all the same buildings just in different locations, and are hiring the same architect for all three, I'm combining them into one thread. The exception the three is Cedar Brook which is getting a classroom addition. Developer: SBISD Architect: Pfluger Estimated Completion: Buffalo Creek - 3Q 2020 Cedar Brook - 3Q 2021 Treasure Forest - 3Q 2020 Bond Info: Buffalo Creek - https://www.springbranchisd.com/about/bond-2017/campus-bond-work/buffalo-creek-elementary Cedar Brook - https://www.springbranchisd.com/about/bond-2017/campus-bond-work/cedar-brook-elementary Treasure Forest - https://www.springbranchisd.com/about/bond-2017/campus-bond-work/treasure-forest-elementary Images from presentations:
  8. Since we Don't have Subforums for various "Villages" or Spring Branch, so I'll be putting these here for now. In 2017 the residents of Spring Branch ISD passed a Bond Referendum. One of the projects is a proposed complete reconstruction of Hunters Creek Elementary School. The original 1950's building will be demoed. All students currently going to the school will instead be transferred to the South Transition Campus. Developer: SBISD Architect: Pfluger Estimated Completion: 3Q 2021 Bond Info: https://www.springbranchisd.com/about/bond-2017/campus-bond-work/hunters-creek-elementary SBISD Presentation (June 29, 2019): https://resources.finalsite.net/images/v1562798866/springbranchisdcom/ls58nwovdml9n8xkdzul/PPPtoHCES062619_Compressed.pdf The design is currently in a "refinement" phase, so basically still in Design Development. Images from presentations:
  9. Sorry, I know the subject was touched on somewhere but I can't find it. It was my understanding that the old library on Memorial, west of Kirkwood, was going to become a HPD sub-station for the western portions of this area. Is this plan nixed or when will it happen? I'd love to see more HPD coverage in the area, they seem to let the constables handle everything. They do a very good job, but I think HPD needs to be here too, not always wrangling in Katrinaville up on Briar Forest. And boy were they cracking down yesterday. I saw three police cars with lights on, two others circling, and the same thing when I drove back. 5 cars in such a concetrated area is rare. Then I decided maybe I don't need to drive that way again for a while.
  10. I had friends in Spring Branch who went to Spring Branch High. I remember going to the school but I can't remember where it was located. Can someone help me? Also, did they tear it down or is it still up?
  11. We moved to Bellaire to take advantage of HISD's "Exemplary" schools. Our son is in 1st grade at Horn Elementary, and we are having serious doubts about how "Exemplary" the school really is compared to Spring Branch ISD schools. Our biggest concern is the complete lack of adult supervision at drop-off and pick-up. The campus is a total zoo as the rude parents park in "No Parking" zones, speed, etc. in their race to get on to who-knows-where. I am getting no support from our principal as far as even acknowledging that this is a problem and potential liability. To me, knowing that my child is safe while at school (including the 10 minutes immediately before and after) is non-negotiable. The few other parents supporting our quest for safety have suggested that the principal make it part of the teachers' job description to help supervise the drop-off and pick-up on a rotating basis. Her response was that "they will never go for it..." We even suggested paying them a stipend if we had to go that far. Who is the leader here? I have had more support from principals at surrounding schools than at Horn. Also, if this is how the administration acts regarding something as important as safety, what am I to expect when my child has an academic concern in the future? Furthermore, we have four children. So, we are talking about 10 more years dealing with these problems. We are seriously considering moving to Memorial over the summer. I need some input from those who have been in the same situation. Has anyone pulled their child out of HISD and transferred to Spring Branch ISD? Private school is not an option for us. We will be looking at homes zoned to Rummel Creek or Wilchester. Are they really that much better academically than, say, an "Exemplary" school in HISD? Or, is SBISD overrated? This is a big (and costly) decision for us. I want to be sure that we may not be better off just staying put. But, I also have concerns about Pershing Middle School. Any feedback is appreciated.
  12. Hey, does anyone have pics or information on the Sherwood Oaks Subdivision?
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