I recently caught wind of something that sounded interesting to me. While helping the sports editor of the Galveston County Daily News cover an event recently, he passed along something that really sparked my interest. (As an aside, I’ll make a note to those who don’t regularly read my content that I live in the Clear Lake Area in the suburbs of Houston).
Joshua Buckley, the person I was referring to, told me that Clear Creek Independent School District is proposing building a stadium on the west side of the district that would house the Clear Brook and Clear Springs High School football teams. Clear Lake, Clear Creek and the new Clear Falls high schools would still play at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the campus of Clear Creek HS in League City. This would be done as a way to alleviate difficulties in scheduling, especially since Springs and Falls both open their doors within the last 5 years. Falls itself just opened a few weeks ago and will not be competing at a varsity level until 2012.
When I heard the proposal, I felt it should be denied because there are more important things to spend tax money on, especially in the schools.
I’m personally a huge sports fan, so on one hand I like the idea of a new stadium being built to watch a game at. I follow Texas High School football, particularly in the Houston area, and a joint stadium for Clear Brook and Clear Springs would be exciting to see.
With that said, there are other issues to consider. For example, the CCISD attendance zone already has a tax rate of $1.36/$100 of property value. For Texas, this is high since as it is $1.04/$100 is supposed to be the highest a school district tax rate can rise to, as mentioned in an op-ed of mine a few weeks back. While this rate helps to make CCISD among the best school districts in the state, it also means that it is expensive to live in the zone (though this can be expected in any nice suburban area). A new stadium would inevitably raise this rate higher and depending upon how nice the stadium is, it could rise substantially.
And how nice is the stadium be proposed to be? Texas has some districts that built outrageously nice stadiums for high school competition, such as Galena Park ISD Stadium, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD’s Berry Center and Midlothian ISD. While these may be nice and fun venues to watch sports at, it still is mystifying why high school athletes and their fans need more than a set of bleachers, good parking, a good concession stand, a nice lockerroom and clean bathrooms. It’s gotten to the point where these districts have stadiums that outshine Division I-FBS stadiums in some cases (not the largest schools but some of the less rich schools in BCS non-automatic qualifying conferences). With this in mind, do taxes really need to be raised so that these there is an extra place to watch football out? Is there anything wrong with CCISD’s current stadium?
Scheduling isn’t an issue because the district, if need be, could mandate that three teams should play at home while the other two should play on the road in any given week since high school teams are allowed to play Thursday, Wednesday or Friday. Larger districts such as Cy-Fair ISD and Fort Bend ISD don’t seem to have an issue with this.
Essentially, CCISD should stay with the status quo and avoid raising taxes. In an economy such as this, it’s a very wise move.