Temperatures settling into the triple-digits means August has arrived and we have entered the last lap of summer. August also marks the end of our bond exploratory phase, after which the Board of Trustees may vote on whether to move forward with an election.
Since January, thousands of community members have contributed their invaluable expertise and insight. Your neighbors volunteered to serve on the Bond Advisory Committee and subcommittees; they spoke with committee, Board and staff members gathering feedback; they used Let’s Talk! to submit questions and comments online.
And a few weeks ago, 500 district residents participated in a phone survey conducted by our partners from Rice University. The goal of the survey was to assess our community’s familiarity with Leander ISD and to gauge the climate for a potential bond election.
This was a blind, sample survey of residents across our district, so it did not capture every single voice in our district. But these live phone interviews — answered by cell phone and landline —did provide LISD a critical conduit for an open conversation with community members, to allow their voices to be heard and to help shape our next steps.
A copy of our survey team’s presentation to the Board of Trustees is available on our website, through the packet materials for our last Board meeting. Below are a few highlights from the survey.
The Leander ISD community values our high-quality teachers and favorably rate their performance. The best teachers in the state of Texas work here. Additional comments emphasized how well residents know and value our teachers. Parents of current and past students remarked on the high quality of our educators and the support they give our learners. This esteem held true throughout all parts of our district.
Those familiar with our district frequently praised the educational services we offer, including challenging instructional options, availability of technology and robust extracurricular programs. Many respondents attributed quality services to keeping class sizes small and empowering teachers with the tools necessary for success.
Survey participants also gave high marks to the quality of LISD facilities. To summarize comments from several community members, our history of building high-quality facilities helps maintain property values; it invites student learning and assists in the retention of talented teachers; and by investing in their maintenance, it preserves their appearance and saves maintenance and operating costs, allowing LISD to invest in classroom instruction.
We are encouraged to hear once again that many families sought out homes within LISD because of our outstanding schools. While accommodating this continued student growth — roughly 1,100 per year — presents its own challenges, we are excited to help mold the future of this vibrant community.
I, too, am a new home-owner in our area and see the concerns expressed in this survey echoed in our neighborhood meetings — growing communities, growing expenses, growing traffic, etc. I have also lived in enough high-growth areas across Texas to see how staying ahead of the growth curve can set a community on the right trajectory for generations to follow.
Our Board will continue discussing projects and listing to the many voices of our community over the coming weeks. The deadline for calling a November election is Aug. 21 and the Board could have an election as an action item during their Aug. 17 regular meeting, or they could choose to delay a decision until the early spring.
There is no doubt our area is growing and will continue for the foreseeable future. I want to thank you for staying active in our journey as we support teachers with functional and efficient learning spaces, and support families by meeting the needs of a fast-growth community while leading all students to bright futures.