Hays CISD eyes $250M May bond

A $250 million initiative split across two propositions was the consensus reached by the Hays CISD Board of Trustees Monday as they decided on what could go in a potential bond.  

Board trustees will decide next week on whether they should take the $250 million package to voters this May.

By a 7-0 vote Monday, trustees directed staff to ready election orders, with trustees finalizing language Feb. 13 for a possible bond election.

The move was done after the board spent the better part of three hours crafting the Growth Impact Committee’s $265 million recommendation.

When the dust settled, however, board trustees opted to whittle $15 million from the GIC’s total recommended cost.

Board trustees also split the bond into two propositions, with one of the propositions consisting of a new high school and two new elementary schools.

For many board members, the $265 million recommended price tag proved too much to move forward with. District 2 Trustee Willie Tenorio was concerned that a $265 million bond wouldn’t pass in the community. 

Teresa Tobias, District 1 trustee, said preliminary discussions had centered around a possible $250 million bond, but the price had gone up. 

Removing a $22 million new central services building from the bond was a primary component in the total cost reduction. 

Esperanza Orosco, district 5 trustee, said she has received a “lot of push back” from community members regarding the new services building, which was planned to go near the district’s Performing Arts Center. She also questioned whether the city of Kyle was considering development in that area.

Superintendent Michael McKie said he met with Kyle City Manager Scott Sellers two weeks ago regarding their intentions. While McKie said timeline and interests are similar, he said there was no information to share with the board regarding the meeting, as the city had no details of any potential commitment.

“To say anything specific would be misleading to the board,” McKie said.

District 4 trustee Merideth Keller worried that if Kyle had interest in developing the area, the district could miss an opportunity to work with them to potentially share space.

“I don’t want to spin my wheels and talk about a central services center when there is a possibility for something else that’s quite workable,” she said.

Board president Holly Raymond said she believed the information McKie presented was her “sticking point” when it came to cutting the CSC out of this bond.

“There was something that’s on the horizon that’s big like that, that we don’t have answers, that could save us $22 million? Then it’s worth waiting for that answer,” Raymond said.

The district reduced the number of bays within a new transportation facility along Highway 21 from 16 to 8, which cut the cost by $1.2 million.

Trustees also chose to cut $1.9 million from an $11.9 million item for district-wide improvements. The $1.9 million that was eliminated would extend to a $3.1 million item for intrusion alarms in the district.

Board trustees discussed the cost of a $122 million high school and two $33 million elementary schools. At-large trustee Sandra Bryant said she wanted to potentially lower the cost of the campuses.

Trustees, however, decided to utilize any potential savings from construction of the schools toward paying down existing debt in order to return money to taxpayers. Language will also be added to the final project list that upon completion of all projects, any total savings would go to pay down existing debt.

While all trustees agreed to split the bond, some held reservations.

Bert Bronaugh, District 3 trustee, said the $250 million bond amount was more palpable, but feared all three schools could fail if they’re in a separate proposition in the bond.

At-large trustee Sandra Bryant said having one proposition was equivalent to taking a “horse pill.”

“I think giving people the flexibility to split the bond into two is simple to understand,” Bryant said. “It also has the best chance of passing.”

The deadline for calling a bond election is Feb. 17. If the board opts to call an election, voters would hit the polls to decide on the bond May 6. 

How does a proposed Hays CISD bond look now?

After Monday’s special called meeting, the Hays CISD board of trustees chose to reduce the total amount of a proposed bond to $250 million that’s split into two propositions. The board opted to include a $3.6 million baseball, softball complex at Hays High, while removing a $22 million new central services center. Other cost cutting measures include reducing the scope of a proposed transportation facility by $1.2 million and the scope of district wide improvements by $1.9 million. The board will vote Feb. 13 on possibly calling an election.

Proposed Hays CISD Bond – $250,000,000

Proposition 1 – $189,850,000

  • High school 3 – $122,000,000
  • Elementary school 14 – $33,925,000
  • Elementary school 15 – $33,925,000

Proposition 2 – $60,150,000

  • District wide improvements – $9,413,479
  • Transportation facility – $16,062,000
  • Technology, infrastructure upgrades – $1,012,200
  • Roofing and HVAC replacements – $9,304,921
  • Lehman High Auto Technology building – $3,127,000
  • Library upgrades – $978,000
  • Security/surveillance – $300,000
  • Music building replacement at Hays High – $8,480,000
  • Hays High veterinarian technology facility – $550,000
  • Lehman High veterinarian technology facility – $1,764,400
  • Hays High auto technology expansion – $100,000
  • Hays High broadcasting studio remodel – $650,000
  • Lehman High broadcasting studio – $590,000
  • Hays and Lehman High STEM equipment – $236,000
  • Bleachers, lights and scoreboard at Dahlstrom Middle School – $454,000
  • Books for libraries – $822,000
  • Bleachers, lights and scoreboard at Wallace Middle SChool – $473,000
  • Bleachers and press box at Lehman High – $345,000
  • Hays High culinary arts addition – $1,888,000
  • Hays High baseball/softball complex – $3,600,000

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