On February 25, 2019, the CCISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to accept the rezoning recommendations from its School Boundary Advisory Committee (SBAC). The result is a rezoning that, come August, will affect over 1,500 students, 1,069 of them in elementary school. Twenty-two intermediate school students will be affected, and 555 of them are in high school. The SBAC allegedly was supposed to fairly represent all CCISD students. But did they fall short in that regard?
Let’s take a look at the final recommendations (click here). Now, let’s take a look at the SBAC members and who they really represent.
Clear Creek ISD requires that any SBAC needs to have two “community members.” These, according to the policy, are “two additional members shall be community representatives who may or may not be parents of District students.” Ami Vaughn (who lives in the unaffected neighborhood of Hidden Lakes) and Scott Reynolds were the “community members” on the SBAC. Basically, they had no skin in the game. But they’re required by policy to be on any rezoning committee.
High school representatives
- Joseph Otto, Jr., Clear Brook HS – No students were moved.
- Frances Wise, Clear Creek HS – No students were moved.
- Shinny Anand, Clear Falls HS – Shinny lives in the Mar Bella neighborhood of League City, which was not affected.
- Sara Holder, Clear Lake HS – No students were moved.
- Abraham Oommen, Clear Springs HS – Abraham lives in the Friendswood subdivision of Autumn Lakes, which was not affected.
Intermediate school representatives
- Karen Westerfeld, Bayside Int – No students were moved.
- Lucie Easterwood, Brookside Int – No students were moved.
- Kim Wager, Clear Creek Int – No students were moved.
- Jenifer Treadway, Clear Lake Int – No students were moved.
- Kari Balusek, Creekside Int – No students were moved.
- Marie Boykin, League City Int – Marie lives in the League City neighborhood of Marbella, which was not affected.
- Don Davis, Seabrook Int – No students were moved.
- Jon Thompson, Space Center Int – No students were moved.
- John Russo, Victory Lakes Int – No students were moved.
- Darlene Hernandez, Westbrook Int – No students were moved.
Elementary school representatives
First, let’s take a look at the representatives missing from this panel. There is no one on the SBAC to represent Gilmore Elementary, which the Board of Trustees and Dr. Steven Ebell, the Deputy Superintendent in charge of the SBAC, knew would be affected due to the need to populate Campbell Elementary. There also was not an SBAC member that would have been in the Campbell Elementary attendance zone. That’s bad enough, but let’s go down the list:
- Lauren Honeycutt, Ward – No students were moved.
- Johnny Culp, North Pointe – Johnny does not live in Stillwater Cove and was not affected.
- Nadin Norman, Wedgewood – No students were moved.
- Emilie Spencer, Parr – No students were moved.
- Ross Norman, Goforth – Ross lives in the League City neighborhood of The Meadows and was unaffected.
- Kelley Adams, Robinson – No students were moved.
- Ashley Gogle, Mossman – Ashley lives in the League City neighborhood of South Shore Harbor, not the Lakes of South Shore, and was not affected.
- Kimberley Dunn, Hyde – Kimberley does not live in the Coronado Apartments and was not affected.
- Lisa Palmer, White – No students were moved.
- Mark Turner, Armand Bayou – No students were moved.
- Keith Stephens, Brookwood – Keith lives far north of the boundary change and was not affected.
- Tammi Rice, Clear Lake City – No students were moved.
- David Dusl, Landolt – David lives in the Friendswood neighborhood of Autumn Lakes and was not affected.
- Edward Ryskoski, Hall – Edward lives in the Countryside North neighborhood of League City and was not affected.
- Zach Dunham, Bauerschlag – Zach lives in the Brittany Lakes neighborhood of League City and actively lobbied to get his section of Brittany Lakes moved to Gilmore Elementary, which is closer to where he lives.
If you read through the November 28, 2018 SBAC meeting minutes, you’ll see that Zach agitated for his section of Brittany Lakes to be rezoned from Bauerschlag Elementary to Gilmore Elementary. The SBAC was specifically charged with setting aside personal agendas, keeping neighborhoods and subdivisions zoned to the same schools, and minimizing student movement – all noted in every single one of the SBAC meeting minutes, starting with October 17, 2018. Now, because he allegedly wants his kids to have a shorter trip to school, over 100 kids had to be shuffled out of Gilmore Elementary to make way for his.
Essentially, what Clear Creek ISD allowed was for SBAC members to dictate recommendations that would not affect them – or would serve to benefit them. And the Board of Trustees turned a blind eye so they could push this rezoning through as quickly as possible.
If “this district did it right,” as the SBAC’s vice-chairman Ross Norman claims, why were none of the SBAC representatives adversely affected?
Is it another Watergate? Probably not. Is it worth a closer look? Perhaps. Is it the responsibility of the Board of Trustees to at least press pause and figure out if the SBAC was working in the best interest of the students in the district – or only in their own self-interest? Absolutely.