AUSTIN (KXAN) — Lake Travis Independent School District board members say the district needs more property and may authorize contracts for two lots in Dripping Springs, and one with a Spicewood address. But not everyone is happy about it.
During Wednesday night’s board meeting, members approved the sale of the Spicewood property, and decided to postpone the vote of the other two properties until the next regularly scheduled meeting on June 15th.
One neighbor, Terri Caldwell said she received a flyer from another neighbor over the weekend about the possible purchase of the Dripping Springs properties just down the road from her.
“I was horrified! Considering that we’re getting into a drought season and a lot of us are on well water,” she said.
“This land is only three miles to our Hamilton Pool park, our Reimers Ranch park, Westcave Preserve, and the Roy Creek preserve. There is NO WATER out here west of RR 12,” wrote another neighbor, Cyd Grimes, to KXAN News.
Grimes has lived in her Dripping Springs neighborhood for more than two decades, and about a year and a half ago, she said her well ran out of water and she has to get her water delivered regularly.
“If I had a fire today, my house would probably burn down,” she said.
“The past two weeks, we’ve been having issues; sometimes the water will go off for 10 minutes,” said another neighbor, Chad Morris. “And again, that’s before 800 students start pulling their water from there. So it’s just– the resources don’t exist.”
LTISD spokesperson Marco Alvarado said while he can’t confirm what the capacity of that school might be, but that traditionally, LTISD’s elementary schools have been built for 850 students.
In March and April, LTISD school board members decided they needed to buy more property “for the purpose of future educational facilities,” and passed a resolution authorizing the superintendent to “negotiate a purchase sale agreement,” for acquiring three properties:
- 25.12 acres located at 4528 Bee Creek Road, Spicewood
- 19.58 acres located at 700 Bell Springs Road, Dripping Springs
- 4 acres located at 20511 Hamilton Pool Road, Dripping Springs
LTISD superintendent Paul Norton said their latest demographic report shows an increase in students over the next roughly 10 years– and mostly among elementary schools. He said the report also shows which zones will see the most projected growth.
“We’re very confident of the growth down on highway 71. And also down Hamilton pool road based on our demographic reports,” Norton said.
LTISD spokesperson Marco Alvarado said the Dripping Springs properties are outside of the city limits but part of the land does bleed into Hays County.
“They’re intruding upon not only the area that I’m in, but then my kids don’t even benefit from the resources that they’re going to be taking from my area,” said Morris, who’s kids attend Dripping Springs ISD, along with Caldwell’s children.
Caldwell, Morris, Grimes, and other opposed neighbors also expressed traffic concerns.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that that road cannot support that many people. It’s barely a country road,” Morris said.
“We just can’t support that type of that type of growth,” Caldwell said.
“There’s lots of concerns, I know about the utilities, especially water in the area, traffic flow,” said Norton.
After about 20 comments on the issue during Wednesday night’s meeting, two school board members acknowledged concerns, saying they are taking their decision seriously and that they are weighing the interests of the families of their school district, too.
The crowd thanked board members for their consideration– and are taking Wednesday night’s postponed vote as a small win.
Many told KXAN’s Tahera Rahman they plan to be at the next school board meeting, and they also plan to meet before then, too, to come up with an action plan.
“It’s a level of buffoonery that I don’t, can’t possibly comprehend and I’m not gonna just gonna sit back and let it occur,” said Morris.
Norton said if and when the board authorizes the sales, the district would do a 60-day feasibility study to determine how things like water and utilities would work on the property. He said based on those results, they could still pull the contract.
Norton said the Spicewood property is a roughly $4 million sale and funding will come from 2018 bonds. He said the other two properties’ prices are still being negotiated but the district would have to dip into their general operating funds for those.
He said the district is planning to bring forward another bond for the November ballot, and if that passes, they’d reimburse their general operating funds through that measure.