Schools whose ages are closing in on the century mark could be replaced with modern facilities if voters approve a $107 million bond the DISD Board of Trustees voted to add to the Nov. 5, 2019, election.
The Trustees voted unanimously Monday to add the bond to the ballot after an advisory committee recommended they do so, according to a press release the district issued Tuesday. The DISD Facility Advisory Committee “spent five months studying the district’s most critical needs,” the release said.
“The group of 36 parents, grandparents, graduates, staff, business owners, elected officials, ministers and community members volunteered and donated more than 820 hours to examine needs and develop a plan,” the district said in its release. “They toured schools, studied reports and evaluated the condition of existing buildings.”
Of the district’s five elementary schools, three of them are over 60 years old. The district proposes to replace Cactus’ elementary school with an energy-efficient facility, as well as build two more in Dumas. One would replace Sunset Elementary and Morningside Elementary, and the other would replace Hillcrest Elementary and Green Acres Elementary. Those four schools would be combined into the two new ones. The three schools also would have storm shelters.
The district’s schools have an average age of 62 years, the classrooms are small, and 45 percent of them don’t meet the state’s square-footage standards, the district reported. Those conditions prompted the Trustees to make what Trustee President Patty Willis said is “the hard decision.”
“We believe this bond proposal will address facility issues for the next 50 to 75 years,” Willis said.
In addition to building three elementary schools, the bond would also allow the following:
- A new CTE building to expand the current welding and building trades programs.
- Secure entryways at Dumas Junior High and Dumas High School.
- Renovate and expand the high school’s band and choir building.
- Address energy efficiency such as district-wide energy management system, HVAC replacements and LED lighting replacements at all district facilities.
If voters approve the bond, they will pay $27 per month on a $94,000 home, the district said. Citizens who are over 65 years old would not pay the tax increase if they have filed and receive a homestead exemption from the state.