Dripping Springs ISD officials are planning a bond for May with a focus on handling the district’s growth after the November initiative narrowly failed, Dripping Springs ISD Superintendent Holly Morris-Kuentz said on Dec. 12.

The November bond consisted of three propositions totaling $481.13 million to construct another elementary school and high school, expand Sycamore Springs Elementary, and plan for future projects. According to a third-party survey ordered by the district, the main reason the bond failed was concern over a potential tax increase. Because of already increased property values from area growth, DSISD expected to finance all three propositions without increasing the total tax rate, which is set at the necessary level to make annual debt payments on all voter-approved bonds; however, state law requires bonds to include language stating it is a tax increase.DSISD is a fast-growing district with three campuses at capacity in 2022-2023 and eight expected in 10 years, Morris-Kuentz said.

Following the bond failure, DSISD is considering rezoning for elementary and middle schools, examining class sizes, purchasing portables; and planning for the future bond, Morris-Kuentz said.

The board aims to include a new bond in the May election.

During a Dec. 12 board meeting, speakers expressed a mix of support and concern for the potential construction of new schools.

“As a teacher, I worry very much about the class sizes that are going to come from our growth,” said Kristin Quick, a fifth-grade teacher at Sycamore Springs Elementary School, at the Dec. 12 meeting. “Increasing class sizes means we cannot offer an excellent education to Dripping Springs students.”

Portable classrooms are projected to be needed on many campuses within five years. Dripping Springs Elementary School already has two, and Sycamore Springs Middle School has three. DSISD Communications Specialist Blake Barington said some additional portables for campuses have been purchased for the 2023-24 school year.

DSISD began discussing the bond Dec. 14 and had a second workshop Jan. 4. The board is expected to hold more workshops, which will be open to the public. DSISD must finalize the plans for the bond by Feb. 17.