Experts Predict Need For Sixth High School
MISD growth projections estimate the need for a sixth high school as early as 2018. In a past school board meeting Population and Survey Analysts, MISD’s hired demography firm, made a presentation that included the addition and possible location of high school number six. When the need for the new school becomes apparent, the school board will call for a bond election on which the public can vote.
“It has been known for several years that the southern portion of the district has long-term potential for growth,” Population Analyst Stacey Tepera said. “Ultimately a new high school is likely to be needed to serve that portion of the district.”
MISD now ranks among the top in fastest growing districts in Texas behind leaders such as Frisco and Leander ISD. According to Dr. Tepera, location, employment opportunities and geographic size largely contribute to the number of migrants to the Mansfield area.
“It’s cool to know we live in a community that so many people want to be a part of,” junior Sarah Larrabee said. “I love it here. I don’t think I would like living anywhere else quite as much as I like [living in] Mansfield.”
Larrabee, whose family moved to Mansfield when she was four, believes the addition of the new schools will impact the district positively. There are those, however, who believe the opposite.
“[With more high schools,] all fine arts and athletic programs are going to suffer. All the talent will spread out,” sophomore Neil Hoang said. “Summit would’ve had the best band if Legacy hadn’t opened.”
Former band Director Renee Goodwin agrees the opening of a new school can present difficulties, but in her 20 years with MISD she has experienced the opening of three new high schools and their eventual return to stasis.
“The first year when you split is hard. But our district is still one of the top growing districts in the state,” Mrs. Goodwin said. “Every time we split it picks up. We’ve grown every year, and I have no doubt that it’s going to continue,” Mrs. Goodwin said.
While Ben Barber’s Frontier High School opened last year, Dr. Tepera believes it will not necessarily affect the need for two more high schools. As the construction of the new school continues, administrators like Assistant Principal Christine Englert will continue their daily routines.
“I love my job here, and I haven’t put much thought into it [a new high school],” Mrs. Englert said, “I think when the time comes and they start talking about it, maybe I’ll be interested then.”