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Dickinson school district fastest growing in county

DICKINSON — Population growth spurred by expanding business and housing markets in Dickinson brought about 3,000 new students to the school district over the past decade, marking an increase of 51 percent. By percentage, Dickinson’s is the fastest growing school district in the county.

In the last 10 years, the district has added or completely replaced schools on five campuses, expanded or renovated many others and hired additional teachers and staff in an effort to accommodate the rapidly growing student population, Superintendent Vicki Mims said.

Enrollment hit 9,287 students last year, which marked a 51 percent increase from an enrollment of 6,134 during the 2001-02 school year, according to state records. 

About 300 students have since enrolled during the current school year, and Mims said projected growth anticipates an additional 300 students to enroll during the 2013-14 school year.

Taxpayers approved three facility bond issues in the last 12 years that funded construction for new and existing buildings on campuses district wide, Dowdy said. The most significant renovation was a $40 million overhaul of the Dickinson High School that included a new two-story academic wing, science labs, classrooms, and a competition gymnasium. 

The district added Barber Middle School and McAdams Junior High to its roster and also expanded or rebuilt schools at Bay Colony, San Leon and Calder Road Elementaries, Dowdy said.

If the student population continues to grow at the same pace it has for a decade, Mims said the district would likely need to build even more schools to accommodate future students.

“We do anticipate the need for another bond to build new schools in the future,” Mims said.

In contrast, the Galveston School District has lost nearly as many students as Dickinson gained since the 2001-02 school year.

Galveston reported an enrollment of 6,406 last year, which was down 30 percent from an enrollment of 9,166 during the 2001-02 school year, District spokesman Johnston Farrow said.

The island is still recovering from the loss of about 3,000 students who moved off the island after  Hurricane Ike devastated the region in 2008, but state records show the student population has steady increased in the years following the storm.

Like Galveston, the High Island school district suffered a major loss in its student population following Hurricane Ike. District enrollment was 279 during the 2001-02  school year. State records show 180 students enrolled during the 2011-12 school year, or 35 percent fewer than a decade before.

Other school districts in the county, including Hitchcock, Friendswood, Texas City, Santa Fe and Clear Creek reported minor increases in enrollment over the same 10-year period.

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