Hays CISD committee to consider new elementary school, expanded middle schools for 2020 bond

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A new elementary school and expanded middle schools are some of the major items the Hays CISD administration will recommend for inclusion in a bond to go on the ballot for the May 2020 election, according to Director of Communications Tim Savoy.

The HCISD Facilities and Bond Oversight Committee reconvened Sept. 26 and will meet regularly through October and November to produce a set of recommendations for a new bond. They will work to consider what projects the district may need as it faces a larger-than-expected increase in student population and projects significant growth in the future.

Voters approved the district’s last bond in 2017; it was a $250 million measure that included funding to build Johnson High School and Uhland Elementary School as well as to construct a new campus for Buda Elementary School with expanded capacity.

The standing committee for the 2020 bond is not starting with a specific project list, but the administration is making recommendations based on need, Savoy said, among the new and expanded schools. While construction of a new elementary school is likely, the administration is recommending the bond include funds to renovate and expand some of the district’s middle schools, rather than to build a new middle school campus.

Expanding schools is less expensive, Savoy said, and also allows the district to keep its current feeder pattern, which sends two middle schools to each of the three high schools. A seventh middle school would require redistricting.

Other administration recommendations include allocations for some infrastructure and technology needs and also potentially for a new administrative building that could put district staff under the same roof.

The bond committee will continue to meet and hear recommendations through the end of October. Members will then deliberate before making a recommendation to the board of trustees as early as the end of November but no later than December, Savoy said.

The trustees will hold public hearings in January to gather feedback from the community before voting on a final bond proposal by mid-February in order to get it on the ballot for May, according to an HCISD timeline.

The public can follow the process on the district website, where all the committee’s documents as well as the dates and locations of its meetings will be posted: www.hayscisd.net/bond2020.

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Katharine Jose has written about politics, infrastructure, environment, development, natural disasters and other subjects for The New York Observer, Capital New York, and The New York Times, among other publications. She was an editor for several publications in New York City before she moved to Texas, and has a master's degree in urban planning from the University of Texas-Austin.
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