Voters will have the option to consider and vote for three propositions, propositions A, B and C.
The last time a bond was approved was back in May 2017, which cost $107 million. The 2017 bond funded additional classrooms to several schools, like Bowie and Travis elementary schools; an auxiliary site for buses; and a 2,700-student expansion to San Marcos High School.
Susan Seton, president of San Marcos Educators Association, said that there are several needs in the district that the budget can’t fill.
“We are growing, and we have the need for more room for students. Right now a lot of things are crammed in small spaces, and we’re just finding [a] closet here, closet there, and in order for us to keep growing with our surrounding area, we’ve got to make some changes and add some things that make San Marcos the destination," Seton told Community Impact. "We want kids to want to come to San Marcos schools, not just [those] that live here but also the ones outside because we have some programs that rank up there even better than a lot of our surrounding schools."
Proposition A is estimated to cost about $147.72 million, which includes districtwide safety infrastructure, technology and transportation items. This option also has improvements for elementary, middle and high schools in the district.
Proposition B will cost $984,563 to replace the field turf at Rattler Stadium, and Proposition C will cost about $17.48 million for a natatorium building which will have a 25-by-25-yard pool and support space.
The board is still considering whether to break the proposed projects into multiple proposition packages or into one singular proposition.
Option B1, within Proposition B, is an example of a singular proposition that would prioritize renovations to Hernandez Elementary School, a new Mendez K-8 school, band and theater room addition to Owen Goodnight Middle School, and athletic renovations/additions to Miller Middle School. This option will give the high school the ability to expand and add a performing arts building along with a natatorium. The option is a combination of the three propositions, which would cost about $166.19 million.
According to Robert Tijerina, the district’s financial adviser, the bond is expected to have a tax rate increase of 0.426 cents.
“That’s assuming property growth of about 5% for next fiscal year 2024, and then an additional two more fiscal years of 5% property value growth,” Tijerina said at the board's Feb. 6 special meeting.
Currently, the district has a property value of $9.1 billion, and in FY 2022-23 district staff reported that there was an increase of a little over 22%. Tijerina noted that they are projecting three years of 5% growth, which he described as “pretty conservative.”
Trustee Brian Shanks said the board failed to have strategic guidelines and a vision for their committees to follow.
“Using the moderate guidelines for growth in [the] 2025-2026 school year, we will be at 93% capacity, which we are currently at 94% capacity. So in one year’s time after the school has been built, assuming it's built in one year, we will already almost be at the same problem that we’re at right now, with an overcrowded school,” Shanks said. “So that’s my concern with the bond, is that as the board it is our job to provide some strategic guidelines and vision for our committees, and I don’t think we did that in this respect as far as making sure that we had a plan for five and 10 years and not just the short term.”
Trustee Mari Salmi said she appreciated the work of the Facility Advisory Committee and district employees.
“I look forward to supporting a bond that meets current and future needs for our students and community including a future bond that incorporates a plan for increased transport capacity,” Salmi said.
April 6 is the last day to register to vote or make an address change. Early voting is April 24 through May 2. Election day will be held on May 6.