Hays CISD to hold public hearings Jan. 19-20 for potential $115M May bond election

The May bond election contains four projects, totaling $115.65 million. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
The May bond election contains four projects, totaling $115.65 million. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

The May bond election contains four projects, totaling $115.65 million. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

The Hays CISD board of trustees will host two public forums this week for public feedback regarding the potential May bond.

The first will be Jan. 19 at the Lehman High School cafeteria, located at 1700 Lehman Road, Kyle. The second will be Jan. 20 in the Kunkel Room at the Historic Buda School, located at 300 San Marcos St., Buda. Both will begin at 6 p.m.

The board of trustees was presented with the proposal for a potential $115.65 million bond election in May at a workshop meeting on Dec. 13. In August, the HCISD Facilities and Bond Oversight Committee appointed by the board began meeting and brainstorming what projects should be focused on for 2022 and if there was a need for a bond election. Ultimately, four projects were selected.

“Going forward, I think we've had a very successful round. There were not as many items on this particular bond. I think last time there were close to 30, and this time there were four, so it was a whole lot easier to wrangle,” Chief Operations Officer Max Cleaver said.

The FBOC voted and designated the construction of a new elementary school, the 16th, as the most important project for this election based on average scores from the group, clocking in at $48.27 million. The proposed school would fit 900 students and would be completed in August 2024.

Second is the the most expensive project at $57.13 million, the building of an academic support center for all administrative personnel to work out of that would allow for the expansion of Live Oak Academy, the district’s alternative school for students to learn from home.

FBOC Chair Byron Severance said that based on Superintendent Eric Wright’s reports of rising enrollment numbers, the committee members wanted to make sure that they included the new building that will be able to support the growing population.

“We’re pretty much looking at an elementary school worth of kids entering the district every year for the next 10 years,” Severance said.

Additionally, $6.77 million would be allocated to purchase 55 new buses to help replace those that are over 10 years old or have more than 150,000 miles on them.

Lastly, $3.48 million would be used on design fees for the 17th elementary school in the district.

To get ahead and prepare for the future, Severance said the design fees were included for another new elementary school so that when it is needed, construction can begin right away.

Severance said he believes the committee has a good grasp on what is really important and beneficial for the district. While there are plenty of other projects they could have considered, he said that they needed to garner trust with the community regarding the spending needed for student and academic growth.

“We felt like the items we landed on were a huge need for the district,” Severance said.

There was a fifth item that was up for consideration, the repavement of the Hays High School parking lot, which Severance said is not expected to be needed for another year or so.

The board of trustees must call for the election by Feb. 18.
By Zara Flores
Zara joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in August 2021. Prior to CI, she interned at Picket Fence Media in Southern California and graduated from Cal State Fullerton where she was assistant news editor for the Daily Titan and copy editor for Tusk Magazine. Zara covers education, business, government and more for Buda, Kyle and San Marcos.