District officials presented the development timeline for a May or November 2023 bond addressing necessary facility upgrades, safety and security, energy efficiency and support for student programs.
The district’s last bond election was held in 2019 for $80 million, which funded projects of similar scope as well as the Westlake High School Aquatics Center, a wrestling space addition and robotics center expansion, according to the district’s website.
Upon passage of the 2019 bond, the Bond Oversight Committee was created to evaluate the necessity and practicality of projects and recommend the order of projects. For the upcoming bond, the BOC will act as a Bond Advisory Committee to review potential bond items and facilitate discussion with the community, according to the district.
The BAC will meet periodically throughout the next several months to review aspects of the potential bonds and present recommendations to the board of trustees in January, and the board must call for an election by Feb. 18, according to the Texas secretary of state. Presentations will be given to the board throughout this process following meetings by the BAC, according to district documents.
Determining election dates
Holding a bond election in November 2023 instead of May 2023 presents its own challenges, according to the district. A bond passed in May would allow adequate time to prepare for projects in summer 2024, while a November bond would stifle the number of projects able to be completed in that same timeframe.
The next legislative session in Texas runs from Jan. 10-May 29, meaning several policy changes could be on the horizon for districts. The upcoming legislative session could place additional constraints on bond elections and complicate a November election, according to the district.
Cost estimates for the bond provided by the district are based on a May election. According to the district, pushing the date to November could increase costs due to inflation and other unforeseen factors.
The BAC will hold its first meeting Sept. 27 to discuss safety and security measures in the bond, followed by discussion by trustees at the Oct. 4 board meeting.