Managing growth is the top issue facing the next iteration of the Crowley ISD school board.
Five candidates seeking two seats will share the ballot with a more than $1 billion bond calling for new school construction in the May 6 election.
In the fall, 16,915 students were enrolled in Crowley ISD, which includes parts of Fort Worth, all of the city of Crowley and a portion of Johnson County.
But over the next 10 years the district expects to gain 4,665 students, pushing enrollment to 21,580, according to a report from Dallas-based demographer School District Strategies. That is a nearly 28% increase.
Under a moderate growth projection, Crowley ISD’s enrollment could reach 18,500 students in the next five years, resulting in more over-capacity elementary schools .
Early voting starts April 24 and ends May 2.
Candidates Phoebe Elkins and Roderick Smith are running against incumbent Nedra Robinson for the Place 1 seat on the school board.
Robinson sees the positive growth as an opportunity for parents to share their thoughts on how the school board can improve the district.
The 2023 bond would provide seven new campuses, security upgrades and other improvements across the district. She hopes parents will be on board.
“The bond is what’s best for Crowley ISD,” Robinson said.
Elkins agreed with her opponent that the bond would help the district’s growth.
Crowley ISD should find additional funding to hire more teachers to staff new schools, Elkins said. She would need to be on the school board to see how the finances could be handled to hire them, she said. Bonds cannot be used to pay salaries for school staff.
“We’re growing as a community, and if we can’t hire more staff it could hinder our success,” Elkins said.
Smith did not respond to four phone calls and four emails from the Fort Worth Report requesting an interview.
Smith’s priorities include bringing awareness to students’ mental health, pay increases for teachers and staff and involving parents in their child’s education, according to his campaign website.
Candidate Diana Acosta is challenging incumbent La Tonya Woodson-Mayfield.
As a trustee, Woodson-Mayfield has discussed with families and community leaders about how they can work together to tackle the district’s growth, she said. If reelected, she plans to continue that approach.
Woodson-Mayfield is betting on the district’s bond passing to be the main way to manage the expected enrollment boom. However, if it fails, the alternatives would be to cap enrollment for individual schools or place students in portable classrooms — options Woodson-Mayfield wants to avoid.
“Our students need to be in classroom settings where they can thrive and be all they can be,” Woodson-Mayfield said.
Acosta declined to be interviewed. She sent a statement outlining her priorities, which include pushing for transparency, holding administration accountable and eliminating diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
Taylor Coit is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.