EPISD voters on Nov. 8 will have a chance to decide on funding for the reconstruction, renovation and consolidation of aging schools, as well as improvements to technology, athletics, fine arts and transportation.
The EPISD Board of Trustees called for a $668.7 million bond election on Tuesday night to address the modernization and right-sizing of the District.
The proposal comes after months of work by the 80-plus member Facility Advisory Committee, which is comprised of community members, parents, civic leaders and staff. The committee reviewed the district’s facilities, technology, transportation and safety needs in formulating the recommendation to the board.
“Our work reflected very thoughtful, holistic decisions on what priorities are best for our entire District now while still trying to be good stewards of the tax dollars of our community,” said Susan Wiggs, a retired EPISD educator. “After thoughtful and careful consideration and collaboration, the committee came to consensus. All agreed on this bond amount.”
With the average age of campuses reaching the half century mark, the bulk of the bond would address the needs of aging buildings while keeping in mind the district’s continued struggle with declining enrollment.
To address these needs, the committee recommended major renovations, partial reconstruction, complete reconstruction and consolidations of campuses. Addressing technology needs to prepare students for a technology-rich digital future is also included in the proposal.
“This bond isn’t just about fixing or rebuilding our 50-year-old plus buildings,” Wiggs said. “The consolidation of schools and development of more K-8 campuses has been well researched and thought out. This bond is also about providing the best learning environment that is safe and secure for our students. It is a true marriage of academics, safety, technology, athletics, fine arts, and facilities.”
Superintendent Juan Cabrera said the District will begin informing the public about the Bond election and the projects included in it.
“Starting today, EPISD will begin an aggressive informational campaign that will aim to provide facts and figures to the voters and taxpayers of the district,” she said. “We wish for our parents and our residents to go to the polls to vote with not just their heart, but also with their head.”
If approved, the Bond would add 18.8 cents to the EPISD tax rate, which has remained the same over the last nine years and is the second lowest in the county. At its height, the bond would mean a $12 a month increase in school taxes.
Highlights of the bond proposal include:
–Turf replace (all high schools), track and tennis courts (eight high schools),court/field lighting: $26,059,000
–Playgrounds, shading, court renovations (outdoor learning environment): $6,000,000.
Safety and Security
–Perimeter Security (fencing/lighting/sensors): $750,400
–Student laptops, Middle School PowerUp Rollout 2017: $4,065,000
–Teacher laptop refresh through 2019: $2,500,000
–Neighborhood WiFi: $500,000
–Network Infrastructure (cabling, controllers, routers, switches, access points): $9,540,000
–24 regular and 23 special needs buses (2016-17): $4,831,061
–12 special needs buses (2017-18): $1,268,260
–12 regular buses (2018-19): $1,273,386
–10 special needs buses (2019-20): $1,099,588
–Hughey (partial rebuild): $13,160,886
–Crockett (major renovation): $11,101,143
–Northeast Middle School replacing Bassett: $34,628,127
–Ross (rebuild): $39,522,843
–Austin (major renovation): $32,082,302
–El Paso (major renovation, fine arts addition): $21,084,597
–Andress (major renovation): $23,307,049
–Coronado (partial rebuild): $73,885,792
–Irvin (rebuild Phase 2): $27,849,309
–Burges (partial rebuild): $56,783,048
–Jefferson (partial rebuild), Silva (major renovation): $39,631,708
–Bradley Elementary School consolidating with Fannin Elementary School: $20,761,215
–Henderson Middle School becoming a prek-8 consolidating with Clardy Elementary School: $42,344,101
–Lincoln Middle School becoming a prek-8 consolidating with Bond and Roberts elementary schools: $47,822,384
–MacArthur Elementary/Intermediate consolidating with Bonham Elementary: $19,874,484
–Morehead Middle School becoming a prek-8 consolidating Johnson Elementary: $38,043,366
–Terrace Hills Middle School becoming a prek-8 consolidating Collins Elementary: $38,291,809
–Dowell Elementary consolidating Schuster and Crosby elementary schools: $30,634,719