New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 23, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
THURSDAYHave a happy Thanksgiving, from the staff of the Herald-Zeitung.
SO-WEST MIC 2627 E YANDF I
op uh Ll:
EL PASO, TX 7
The Mergele House, 708 W. Mill
16 Pages in two sections ■ Thursday, November 23,1995
Birthday wishes from the Herald-Zeitung!
The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung extends birthday wishes to: Lorine Starts Rob Clark, Defence Marie Martinez (one year old), Christian Camareno, Raven Gomez, Hilda Hernandez, and Linda Snydd Snider.
Holiday schedule at Herald-Zeitung
The Herald-Zeitung office will be closed Thanksgiving Day. The Thanksgiving Day newspaper will be delivered by 7:30 a.m. Thursday. A circulation department phone line will be open Thanksgiving Day, however, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
St. John's offers Thanksgiving meals
St. John's Episcopal Church, 312 S. Guenther, will host a community dinner Thanksgiving day from 11 a m. to 2 p.m. lf you need assistance getting there, call 625-2532 or 606-3408. St. John’s will also have a joint Thanksgiving Eve service, tonight at 7 p.m. with the members of St. Paul's Lutheran Church. The sen/ice will be conducted at St. John's Church, 312 S. Guenther, with desset to follow in the Parish Hall.
Minds of the Library need storage spaoe
The Friends of Dittlinger Memorial Library have sent out a call for help. The group needs a clean, dry place to sort and store donated books for next year's book sale, lf you have storage space or warehouse space you can spare, call 629-2359.
Optimists selling trees
The New Braunfels Optimist Club is operating its Christmas Tree lot at the same location as last year. The lot is on Seguin St. across from the Post Office. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Come early for the best choice of trees. Proceeds are used to sponsor youth activities.
Women's Shelter Christmas Auction
The Women's Shelter Christmas Auction will take place at Landa Station, Tuesday, Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. Admission is toys, canned goods or a cash donation. There will bean auction and live blues by Monty Tyler.
lf you have something to donate for the auction, call 629-3311.
Tree lighting on tho Plaza Tuesday
The Tree Lighting on the Plaza and arrival of Santa Claus, sponsored by the New Braunfels Downtown Association, will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28 on the Plaza.
The courthuse bells begin ringing at 5:30 p.m., and Santa’s Parade will run from the Central Fire Station to the Main Plaza. There will also be food, drinks, musical entertainment and buggy rides.
Serving Comal County and surrounding areas for more than 144 years B Home of LORINE STARTZ
Vol. 144, No. 8
This newspaper is printed on recycled newsprint
Herald-Z&tung photo by MICHAEL DARNALL
Teacher Debbie Wilke teaches her class at Comal Elementary School in what used to be a book room. Now it Is a book room, an office and a classroom.
Growth puts strain on Bill Brown Elementary
By MELANIE GERIK
The principal’s office used to belong to his secretary. His office now is a teacher workroom filled with staplers, paper and copy machines. Students now have class in the old teacher workroom.
Computers are spread across the school instead of in one contrail zed lab. A few computers are grouped together in a room that used to store textbooks.
But Tripp Presley, principal at Bill Brown Elementary School in Spring Branch, said he thinks that probably the most inconvenient rearrangement is the teacher’s lounge. Air conditioning ducts hang low from the ceiling, and the floor is hard cement, not covered by linoleum tile or carpet. Teachers must climb a steep flight of stairs into an attic storage area during their breaks.
’i'm afraid I’m going to lose one of my teachers on these stairs one day,” Presley said.
Bill Brown Elementary, like many of the schools in the Comal Independent School District, is teaching more students than it was meant to handle. The school was almost full when it opened in 1991, and enrollment on Od. 4 was 917 students, 118 more than the school’s 799 capacity.
Even with 250 students moving from the school next year to the three mw fifth and sixth grade campuses, Presley said he expects the school to operate under capacity only for a short amount of time.
“What (the opening of the new schools) will do is give us an opportunity, at least for a year or so, to use this facility the way it was intended,” Presley said.
Along with the rest of the district, the school will grow by IO to 16 percent each year at least until 2000. Bill Brown Elementary enrollment may reach the same number of students as
before the change as soon as three years after the fifth and sixth graders are no longer on campus.
“It’s real hard to put a value on the effects of overcrowding, but it certainly is a factor,” Presley said. “It just taxes everyone.”
In addition to the 13 make-shift classrooms, work rooms, offices and lounge, six fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms have been held in portable buildings for the past two years.
Vivian Andrews-Buike, who teaches social studies, reading and language arts to sixth graders in a portable building, said her room, usually filled with 25 students, is too crowded for students to do many activities of cooperative education.
Instead of straight lectures, Andrew-Burke said she tries to incorporate learning centers in her lessons, but it is “next to impossible" to use the centers everyday in her portable classroom
“You don’t get a feeling of moving around, being able to lie on the floor,” she said. “There’s really no room in this room to go and work and not to distract other people.”
Nowhft to put tools of tho trade’
Storage is also a problem for both students and teachers in the portables. Instead of lockers like students in the main building, students must keep all their supplies at their desks. They have no cubbyholes to store any extra supplies.
Teachers also must carry their “tools of the trade” from home to school each day, said Kenn Sutton, a multi-age classroom teacher for fifth and sixth graders in the portables.
Except for a few metal cupboards and shelves, the teachers do not have any storage space.
There s just so many of them ...
Bulverde Primary (EC-3)
Goodwin Primary (EC-2)
Bill Brown Elementary (PreK-6)
Bulverde Elementary (4-6)
Comal Elementary (PreK-6)
Frazier Elementary (3-6)
Mountain Valley Elementary (PreK-6)
Canyon Middle (7-8)
Smithson Valley Middle (7-8)
Canyon High (9-12)
Smithson Valley High (9-12)
CISD struggles to cope with influx of students
By MELANIE GERIK
‘It’s real hard to put a value on the effects of overcrowding... It just taxes everyone.’
— Tripp Presley
Sutton said the students in the portables must walk at least IOO yards to the nearest restrooms. The students do not have a covered walkway, and get cold and wet on bad-weather days.
Sutton added the nearest restrooms have only two boys’ stalls and four girls’. Restroom breaks for his entire class of 50 are unfeasible, so students must go to the restroom during class time.
“But then you have big kids running around unsupervised,” he said.
The excess students have put a strain on the restrooms and other core facilities such as the cafetena and libraiy, Presley said
“Kids wait in lines, a lot of time is wasted,” he said. “Keeping (the restrooms) clean and sanitary is a major problem.”
The school has expanded the main sewer line twice in its five years, Presley said.
’Next North East’
Presley said he expects the growth to continue from the metropolitan San Antonio area into the Comal district area.
“We’re the next North East school district,” he said.
In the Cypress Springs subdivision, more than 600 lots have been sold.
“That’s a whole school right there,” Presley said.
Sutton also said he expects “a big bunch of kids” to enter his class after Christmas when families move into their finished homes in the Cypress Springs and other subdivisions such as Timberwood Park.
SOURCES EnroMmvnt Statistic*. Oct 4, IMS; D*m 0. Ham* and Associate's Report Jan 7. 1994
Students are learning in closets, on stages or in portables instead of traditional classrooms. Administrators have moved into smaller offices.
Hie Comal Independent School District is building four new schools to hold the students who keeping moving into the district. Enrollment numbers have grown by more than 3,000 students in five years, almost a third of the district’s enrollment for the 1989-90 school year.
The district is one and a half years ahead of projected enrollment figures, with October enrollment at 8,602 students. Jerry Major, superintendent of Comal ISD, said he expects the district to have an enrollment of 10,000 students by the beginning of the 1997-98 school year.
‘Buying them up like crazy’
The Smithson Valley area on the Highway 281 corridor is experiencing an influx of families moving from San Antonio into the country. The district is growing by 13 percent in this area instead of the district-wide IO percent growth, Major said.
“These folks are looking for a little bit of land and a little bit of space, and they can find it in Comal County,” Major said.
David Gale, a sales representanve of Timberwood Park, a subdivision on the Comal/Bexar Counties border, said his subdivision has led Bexar County m new building starts for the past two years.
He said more and more families are moving into the Comal ISD area because of the proximity of San Antonio without the big-city hassles.
The buyers in the area “want to move out of San Antonio but they still want to be close to the shopping centers and other things in the city.”
Gale said people are buying the homes priced from $130,000 to $300,000 “like crazy.” He added 20 to 30 homes are being built right now.
“You can dnve down any street and see someone building a home,” he said.
Bond issues used to combat growth problems
While the number of students enrolled in Comal ISD is not as high as many other school districts around the state, the projected growth mirrors that of some of the state's largest districts. To deal with the growth, most have opted for bond issues.
Victor Garcia, a spokesman for the North East Independent School District, which borders Comal, said both districts are growing so fast it makes it hard to project future enrollments with any sense of accuracy.
North East patrons recently passed a $147.4 million bond issue, which will finance two elementary, one middle and one high school in the area near Comal.
Although the North East bond election should give the district some space, Garcia said the new schools will not permanently solve overcrowding problems.
“It will alleviate some enrollment pressures, but not for long,” Garcia said.
The district now has 44,077 students. Enrollment probably will reach 50,000 by the year 2001, Garcia said.
*Playivtg catch up’
If the $370 million bond issue proposal by the Austin ISD passes in the spring, it would be the largest in Texas history. The bond issue would fund six new elementary, two middle and one high schools, renovations and expansions on existing campuses, and a technology infrastructure to link all classrooms to the same computer network.
In the 1980s, voters rejected bond issues that would have kept the district
on track for renovations to the build-
ings and for future growth, said Mel Waxier, chairman of the Austin Independent School District Citizens Bond Advisory Committee.
“We’re playing catch-up at a time when we’re experiencing historic growth,” Waxier said.
The district, which already has an enrollment of more than 70,000 students, is growing by 1,500 to 2,000 students each year, and Waxier said the current bond issue should solve the school district’s current overcrowding problems until 2000.
Waxier said he has suggested to the Austin trustees to font! a committee to look at growth trends and form long-range plans.
The $350 million bond issue “won’t be the last of it,” Waxier said.
Solutions for tho 21st Century
Two Comal ISD bond issues in the last two years totaling more than $35 million have paid for a new middle school, three fifth-and-sixth grade schools and additions of classrooms to most of the existing campuses.
Major said the bond elections should hold the students enrolled in the district for the next five years, but the question of what is the most feasible solution to overcrowding will linger into the next century.
“There are a lot of ways to deal with overcrowding, but many would entail scheduling changes,” said Glenn Greenwood, a spokesman forTHI Texas Education Agency.
Going to school year-round
Year-round, multi-track schools, a plan which was adopted grudgingly by the Comal Board of Trustees in the contingency plan if the bond had failed, have been tried by more than 55 school districts in the state, including the fast-growing Cypress—Fairbanks Independent School distnct outside Houston.
“We can open a school now, but the day it’s open, it’s at capacity,” said Donna Schrake, spokeswoman for Cypress-Fairbanks ISD.
In January 1994, voters chose a $61.7 million bond issue with the stipulation of year-round schools over a $106 million bond with regular track schools.
Since that time, Schrake said the year-round, multi-track schools “absolutely” have helped alleviate overcrowding situations, Schrake said. In multi-track schools, students are grouped into four blocks and attend classes in staggered schedules, using the buildings throughout the entire year.
"You can accommodate one fourth more kids in year round,” she said “That saves you building one more school.”
Comal Trustee Thomas Bruce, who has opposed the bond issues, said year-round school would work in Comal ISD if the option was offered on all grade levels.
“When (administrators) put that choice out before the public, they did not do it on all levels,” Bruce said “So the voters chose the lesser of the two evils when they passed the bond issue.”
But Greenwood from the TEA warned that year-round school sched uling is not for every district.
“It’s not necessarily a cure-all," he said.
Down th# road’
Major said the new schools should take the distnct through the year 2000. Then the district will look at other options, including building more schools, expanding current campuses and scheduling changes.
“You've got to put students somewhere,” he said. “We’ll continue to look at those options down the road."For subscription or advertising information, call the Herald-Zeitung at 625-9144.