Hays CISD wants to put $265M bond on May ballot

KYLE, Texas (KXAN) – In 2006, the Hays Consolidated Independent School District had fewer than 12,000 students. Fast forward 10 years—at the beginning of last school year, enrollment reached nearly 20,000. That 64 percent in enrollment growth has the district looking at a bond to fund new schools and fix older ones.

Since September 2016, the Board of Trustees for Hays Consolidated Independent School District has been looking to add a bond proposal to the ballot. The proposed bond is worth more than $265 million and, if finalized by the board, voters will decide the fate of the bond in May.

According to a draft recommendation, the top three projects would include new school buildings.

From September to January, a Growth Impact Committee has been assessing the growth in the district and making recommendations to the board regarding the need for a bond initiative in 2017. To help with growth, a third high school would be built at a cost of $122 million along with a new elementary school with a cost of $34 million. While a new elementary school wouldn't be built with the bond money, Buda Elementary School will be replaced costing another $34 million.

For Buda Elementary Principal Tim Robinson, a new facility would be great, but he believes the bond should pass for safety reason. "Our current location in the lower campus is in a flood plain," said Robinson. In the past three years, Robinson says the school has flooded twice.

"The actual evacuation and moving approximately 350 students to a safer location uphill is something I would like to not repeat in the future, it was very stressful," said Robinson.

If passed, the new school would be built in a different location and would allow students in Kindergarten and fifth grade to be in the same building. "Having all students under one roof would make for a more collaborative learning environment," said Robinson.

The addition of a new high school is something the district has been discussing since 2014. "We are looking at both of our high schools having 500 or more students than they ought to," said Hays CISD spokesperson Tim Savoy. "You think, 'man there is a lot of room in here," but when the students change classes, you'll see how many students are here because they will all be using the hallways to try and get to their next class."

Savoy says if the bond does not pass, it is a possibility that the two high schools operating now will be overflowing with 1,000 extra students each by 2020.

The draft also shows district-wide improvements that would cost close to $12 million. The committee says that money will go towards new fire alarms, track resurfacing, DMS science labs and intrusion alarms. A new transportation facility and central services center that will house the Board of Trustees, administration and special education also made the list.

Public forums for those wanting to voice their opinions and concerns will be held through Feb.  6. The board will then consider calling a bond election on Feb. 17.

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