Galveston ISD takes students from the cities of Galveston and Jamaica Beach. Galveston ISD also serves unincorporated areas of Galveston County, including the communities of Port Bolivar and Crystal Beach on the Bolivar Peninsula.
Each Galveston ISD house or residential area is assigned to an elementary school and a middle school. In Port Bolivar, the houses and residential areas are zoned to a K-8 center. All high school students in Galveston ISD attend Ball High School.
Galveston College serves the catchment area of Galveston ISD.
In the summer of 1883, a local dry goods businessman, George Ball, offered to finance construction of new schools. Ball's offer was accepted, and the cornerstone for what would become Ball High School was laid on February 15, 1884. Ball died on March 11, 1884 without seeing his gift completed. Ball High School opened its doors to 200 pupils on October 1, 1884, with a building consisting of 12 classrooms, two offices and an auditorium. According to Gary Cartwright's "Galveston, A History of the Island", two alderman pressured the school board to open the new school to all races. At first, the school board agreed to do that, but changed its mind when Ball's heirs offered to give another $10,000, if the high school was only for white students. Susan Wiley Hardwick's "Mythic Galvston: Reinventing America'a Third Coast" documents that Central High School was opened as a high school for black students in a storefront in 1885. Central High and Ball High merged into one high school in 1968.
Public schools in Galveston were operated by the city until 1949, when Galveston ISD was established by the Texas legislature .
In the 2000s skyrocketing home prices created by the completion of many high-rise projects have forced many middle class Galveston residents to move off of the island to many cities, including Texas City, League City, and La Marque. Galveston ISD's tax base grew by 13% in 2005 . Including all students, GISD lost 8% of its students (780) between the 2002-2003 school year and the 2006-2007 school year, with a 7% loss (610) in 2006 The district lost 12% of its students during the same years when Hurricane Katrina evacuees and out-of-district students are excluded .
Galveston ISD lost students to mainland school districts such as Clear Creek ISD and Dickinson ISD . District enrollment fell by 101 students from 2004-2005 to 2005-2006. The district missed 772 students on October 30, 2006. Elementary school enrollment had dropped about 2.3 percent from the 1996-1997 school year to the 2006-2007 school year. If the trend continues for fall 2007, the district would lose 300 students to the newly-opened Ambassadors Preparatory School, a charter school, in addition to 94 students , translating to a loss of 10.6% of the district's total elementary school students. At the end of 2006, GISD's total enrollment was about 8,700.
On January 2, 2007, the Galveston County Daily News published a report about parents frustrated over plans to close Scott Elementary School . On May 15, 2007, the Houston Chronicle reported that the League of United Latin American Citizens, in an attempt to prevent schools from closing, filed a complaint with the U.S. federal government asserting that GISD violated a desegregation order. Pat Guseman, an official with Pasa Demographics, predicted that GISD would lose about 1,468 students in the five years after 2007. Guseman, characterizing the change in Galveston demographics as "Hamptonization," stated that economically disadvantaged children and Hispanic children are increasing, while African-American children are decreasing, as of 2007. Guseman cited increasing private school enrollment, increasing costs of housing, and a dearth of local employment as reasons for the loss of students in Galveston.
Ending in the 2007-2008 school year, Galveston ISD operates:
After spring 2008, Alamo Elementary School would be converted into a multi-purpose center.
Starting in the 2008-2009 school year, Galveston ISD would operate four PreK-4 elementary school and two K-4 elementary schools.
Weis Middle School would become a 5-6 school. Central Middle School would become a 7-8 school. Austin Middle School would become a magnet school for grades 5-8.
Now GISD is configured in-
Students in Galveston Academy, the alternative school, are required to wear uniforms.