With the majority of its $132 million in voter-approved bonds now sold, Dripping Springs Independent School District (DSISD) is preparing to commence various improvement projects.
On Sept. 20, the district sold $110 million of its $132 million bond package, which was approved by voters in May. It now paves the way for the district to start on the first major project under the bond, which is expansion of Dripping Springs High to serve 2,500 students.
In addition to the renovation of the high school, the district is also planning for renovations at Dripping Springs Middle School, Dripping Springs Elementary School, Rooster Springs Elementary and the expansion of the transportation site facility.
The district will start working on the Dripping Springs Middle School project and the construction of Elementary school number five next Spring.
“We are still in the planning phase and we will move to design in the next couple of weeks,” Gearing said. “Construction won’t occur until 2020.”
DSISD is trying to make up for two months of lost time after a lawsuit was filed challenging the outcome of the May election.
The lawsuit was led by the Citizens for Excellent Education in Dripping Springs (CEEDS), an education activist organization that questioned the legitimacy of the election. The lawsuit was dismissed in July.
“It did delay us almost two months, but we are catching up so we can get these improvements done as scheduled,” Gearing said. “It may appear that we aren’t doing anything, but most of the work at this time is internal. The architects and engineers are working hard so we will be ready for construction.”
According to the district, around $100 million of the bond package is set for existing facility renovations and improvements and new construction projects.
The bond package came to fruition after the district’s projections showed population could double in the area within the next decade.
Additionally, the Dripping Springs Board of Trustees voted to maintain the tax rate of $1.52 per $100 of certified property tax value for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The tax rate has remained the same for the fifth consecutive year.
DSISD officials believe this action by the board is consistent with the district’s projections from the bond election in May, despite some citizen concern over the fear of an increased property tax rate if the bond passed.
With $110 million of the bond sold, the district has more than enough money to start some of the major projects for the bond. Gearing said the district is confident that the rest of the bonds will sell.
“The board also approved the tax rate at the same rate as last year, like we said we would,” Gearing said. “We will continue to do everything we can to be very transparent. And we will be good stewards of the citizen’s taxpayer dollars.”