With a unanimous 7-0 vote, the Waxahachie ISD board of trustees called a bond election for May that, if passed, would see the construction of the district’s 10th elementary school.
The district’s ninth elementary, Max H. Simpson Elementary, opens this fall. The count does not include Turner Prekindergarten Academy.
Bonds are sought in the amount of $33.4 million, which includes $28 million for a new elementary school, $2 million for campus improvements to four other elementaries, $1 million for HVAC system (reimbursement to the general fund) and up to $2.4 million to purchase land for future school sites.
As noted by the district’s bond consultant, the district’s interest and sinking portion of its tax rate, which goes toward debt service, will not increase as a result of the bond. This is due to the residential growth and expanded tax base the district is experiencing. The consultant noted that the last bond passed by WISD, which provided the funding for Simpson Elementary, also did not increase the district’s I&S rate for the same reason.
At this time, bonds are selling at an interest rate of 2.53-percent, a record low, the consultant said.
If the bond passes, the earliest any bonds would be sold would be August. As also noted by the consultant, the state does not require that the bonds be issued all at once but may be issued as needed over time.
In a related action, the board also gave its unanimous approval to a refunding measure involving several past bonds that is expected to lower their interest rates and render a savings of about $235,000 on an annual basis and totaling about $4 million over those bonds’ remaining lifespan.
The bond election will be held Saturday, May 2, at the same time as the board election. Two places will be up for election; those are currently held by Clay Schoolfield, who serves as the board’s vice-president, and Judd McCutchen, who serves as the board’s secretary.
As part of its order to call the May 2 election, the board also unanimously approved a joint election contract with the Ellis County Elections Office for its services.
In other business, the board approved rezoning plans brought about by the addition of Simpson Elementary, approving elementary plan No. 5, which represented a number of adjustments as requested by parents, and junior high plan No. 4, which also had seen adjustments. Three proposed plans had been presented by the district for both elementary and junior high rezoning, with a number of community forums held in addition to other comment-gathering processes.
The rezoning was undertaken to retain a balance in numbers amongst the different campuses.
“We didn’t want to move more [students] if we didn’t have to,” Cain said of the outreach efforts to gather comments. “We tried to work with every parent we possible could.”
Board president Dusty Autry noted the efforts made on the rezoning and in trying to accommodate parent wishes.
“I would say the overwhelming majority is at peace with this,” he said.
With another nod to the growth WISD is experiencing, Cain said she expects the district to be going through a rezoning process about every other year.
“We’re proud of all of our schools,” board member Melissa Starnater said, asking of parents, “If you’ve had to change, please give your new school a chance.”