The Midway Independent School District Board of Trustees unanimously voted Wednesday night to call a Nov. 5 bond election for $148 million that would also allow a 1 cent per $100 reduction in the tax rate.
A Midway ISD facility study committee recommended May 21 that the school board call a Nov. 5 bond election for $177 million that would address the needs of the growing school district.
The bond package as proposed included building a new elementary school, eliminating intermediate schools and repurposing the buildings, as well as renovating Midway Middle School.
The school district of about 8,200 students is expected to surge to 10,700 in 10 years, according to the facility committee’s estimates.
Over several meetings, trustees deliberated on how to call for a bond election to address the needs of the growing school district without raising the tax rate, which will be reduced next year by 7 cents per $100 of property value under the state’s new school finance reform law.
Board members settled on the $148 million bond package Wednesday because it would allow the district to execute the top eight bond projects identified by the facility committee and to offer taxpayers some tax relief. The 1-cent tax rate reduction amounts to about $20 in savings a year for the average Midway ISD homeowner, Superintendent George Kazanas said.
The eight projects ranked in order of importance by the facility committee include:
- Converting Woodgate Intermediate School into an elementary school — $13.1 million
- Converting River Valley Intermediate School into a middle school — $43.1 million
- Expanding the Midway High School career and technology education program — $31.4 million
- Replacing roofs for five buildings — $3.3 million
- Renovating Midway Middle School — $13.1 million
- Replacing HVAC systems at three campuses — $3.7 million
- Constructing a new elementary school — $38.5 million
- Renovating the district’s technology center — $1.5 million.
Kazanas said if the bond issue passes in November, the district will try to budget the $148 million to include some other, smaller projects that trustees decided to eliminate from the total cost. The district may do this by altering what construction materials are used or when a project is started, for example.
The bond package also includes contingency funds for unforeseen circumstances, like rising construction costs, that could be used for projects that were cut, if the district manages to get a project done early or save money in some other way, Kazanas said.
The items that were cut from the initial bond package include expanding high school athletics locker rooms to accommodate student growth, adding a parking lot to the high school, renovating the performing arts center, and purchasing instruments, equipment and storage for the fine arts programs at the middle and high schools.
In upcoming years, the district may try to budget for the items that were cut from the bond package, Kazanas said.
School board President Pete Rusek said if the bond package does not pass, the district may have to add more portable buildings to schools, especially elementary schools, where the district is experiencing the most growth.
South Bosque Elementary School already had two portable buildings and has added another for the 2019-20 school year, Kazanas said.
District spokeswoman Traci Marlin said some elementary school students are forced to attend a different school for the new school year because the school they started in reaches capacity.
“I think $148 million is a good number because it addresses the growth in our district,” Rusek said. “We’ve already seen significant growth.”