Kyle needs to think about school locations

The Kyle File by David Abdel

A short drive through town and one thing you’ll certainly notice quickly is that Kyle is building up. You can’t drive five minutes without seeing new construction. New subdivisions are being created, new apartments are going up, new industrial space is being built, and new retail spaces are underway. It sounds like a lot of jobs, a lot of work. I would love to get some information on what percent of jobs of those currently putting in the work to build this town, are actually from this town. We should be asking.

I do think all of the industrial and retail space going up will ultimately provide jobs for our community. At least I hope that becomes the case. I will say though, it seems like there still is a lack of development in key areas the community expressed concern over: family friendly restaurants and entertainment. That’s great we are getting a Hawaiian Bros, a Tiff’s Treats and a new Starbucks, but I can safely say most people would prefer an alternate grocery store and places to eat and enjoy time well spent. Instead of the Pie Capital of Texas we should be the Medical Professional Office Capital of Texas.

I digress. More importantly there seems to be an important issue with all this growth that I don’t seem to hear much about. The population continuing to rise rapidly in this town is a big issue. What appears unspoken is … where will all the children go? With this surge in job availability, the surge in families will come. This family boom will increase the population within our schools exponentially. As of the last bond package, which gave us Johnson High in Buda, it was clear many of our schools are already flirting with capacity. We seem to be consistently trying to catch up with enrollments rather than getting ahead.

The latest Hays CISD bond calls for one new elementary school, and almost $4 million for land acquisition for future schools. The issue though, is where will they go. This is the area where I question the planning of Kyle officials. While development is taking place all over the city, it seems every parcel of land is being converted into something or other, but I wonder if they’ve given any thought to where schools will go. I wonder if they are just counting on open land in Buda to house schools. The issue there is that the location of schools, if too far from the home, cause an undue burden on students. Travel time should be considered.

Kyle has almost three times the population of Buda. While the majority of the elementary schools are located in Kyle, the ratio of schools in Kyle to schools in Buda doesn’t correlate to the population differences. One half of the middle schools are located in Kyle. The school district already projected almost all of the middle schools to be over or near capacity by 2021 when they did their rezoning estimates. Three of the four high schools have Buda addresses. I ask, why such an imbalance, and how do we fix it? Class sizes matter. Commutes matter. Kyle is already significantly bigger than Buda, and growing at a faster rate. What is going to happen to our students if we don’t set aside numerous tracts of land for schools, and get them built now? I’ll tell you, educational inequity. We cannot allow that to happen.

If this concerns you, and it should, we should be asking our council what they think about this issue, and what they are going to do about it? Do you want your children in overcrowded classrooms, fighting for the attention of their teachers? Do you want endless money being spent on repairs to increasingly worn down buildings? Do you want long commutes through morning traffic just to get to school? The answer is no. So let’s demand better.

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