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Larkspur Elementary: Growing Kids, Growing Community


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Since November, there has been a stark public interest in local, neighborhood elementary schools. The question remains: “Is there a true need?” Many agree the answer is “yes.” The population of Leander and the surrounding area is growing at a remarkable rate. Despite the addition of three new campuses in the last 3 years, many LISD elementary schools still remain crowded, almost as soon as they open their doors.

When Leander ISD passed a $454.4 million bond with 67% voter approval in 2017, it quickly began the construction of Larkspur Elementary, Nancy Tarvin Elementary, and Carol Ann North Elementary, all located in north Leander. Larkspur, a $37.8 million facility, opened in the fall of 2019, welcoming 532 students. The following year, they began with a student body of 723. Today, nearly 1,000 students are enrolled. During the year 2019, LISD was one of Texas’ fastest growing districts. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, LISD added approximately 1,000 students every year for the last decade. LISD’s current enrollment is 40,350, and by 2029, that number is expected to grow beyond 54,000, according to a report performed by College Station-based Population and Survey Analysts.


Aaricka Washington of Austin American Statesman shares that high kindergarten, and first grade enrollment is a result of an increasing number of millennial parents moving to the city, increasing the recent kindergarten population by 5 percent. “In the past five years, millennial parents increased by 38% in the district, while the total population increased by 25%, according to the report.”


High enrollment in kindergarten and first grades is evident in Larkspur, which has eight classes of 22 students in both grade levels. When asked if the uptick in enrollment has an effect on the school as a whole, a Larkspur teacher stated that it was hard to say; the advent of the Covid pandemic occurred during the school’s first year. She did note that child nutrition and custodial services became greatly understaffed during the Delta and Omicron waves of the pandemic this school year. While she had nothing but accolades to say for the staff members in those departments, the stress and demands of meeting the nutritional and custodial needs of nearly 1,000 students is a definite concern.


Larkspur’s functional capacity is 835, and has already surpassed its expected growth of 904 for 2021-22. It is expected to exceed 1,023 in 2022-23, more than 123% functional capacity. When looking at the district’s attendance zoning scenario 29B for the opening of Carol Ann North Elementary, there is potential to rezone approximately 470 of Larkspur’s students to the new school.


It is clear that Leander ISD continues to be a destination district, and as real estate prices in Austin continue to climb, the populations of its surrounding communities will climb as well. The path before us is to continue to meet the educational needs of the growing population, by providing facilities that ensure all students and staff are comfortable, safe, and in a space conducive to learning.


In November 2021, LISD offered a $772.2 million bond package, in an effort to meet these needs with the addition of at least five schools and renovations on thirteen campuses. Proposition A, $727.2 million for construction of new schools and infrastructure maintenance fell short, however, with 50.3% voting against it. Carol Ann North Elementary may reduce some of Larkspur’s enrollment numbers, but five more elementary schools surpass 120% functional capacity, and without the option of school construction, students may face the disappointment of being rezoned away from the school, friends, and teachers they are familiar with, come 2022-23 school year. For the interests of students, families, and faculty, let’s hope new building projects can be revisited in the future, and we can continue to mirror the growth of our community.


LISD deserves nothing less.



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