Spring ISD’s $850 million bond will focus on upgrading district facilities, technology, and safety and security, should voters opt to approve it in November.

The bond will appear on the ballot as three separate items: Proposition A would allocate $681 million to fund campus improvements; Proposition B would allocate $141 million to build a new education and performing arts center; and Proposition C would allocate $28 million to fund technology upgrades districtwide.

Trustees called the bond election in a unanimous vote during their Aug. 9 meeting. Before trustees voted, members from the 2022 bond steering committee presented information on projects the bond would target, should it be approved by voters.

“This team voted and decided that this plan we're presenting tonight is the best recommendation for our school district,” said Donald Davis, a steering committee member who is also a former SISD trustee.

Facilities, campus security

Proposition A would allocate funds to rebuild Spring High School and renovate Westfield High School, and Reynolds and Jenkins elementary schools, according to an Aug. 9 presentation from the bond steering committee. Districtwide facility maintenance would also be addressed through this proposition.

“I want to make sure the community knows these aren’t frivolous needs,” Trustee Deborah Jensen said. “These buildings we want to improve or redesign or build [are] going to help instruction; [they are] going to help safety; [they are] going to help the school be successful and the people at school.”

Districtwide safety and security upgrades would also be funded through Proposition A such as installing shooter-detection systems, adding security vestibules with bulletproof glass, adding enhanced metal detectors, upgrading and adding security cameras, and adding additional gates and fencing.

“We care about our scholars, staff and administration. ... With the current climate of this country, we need to do what's within our power to protect our own to the best of our own ability,” said Nicole Johnson, who served on the bond steering committee and is the parent of a student at Roberson Middle School.

Proposition A would also fund the purchase of 25 new school buses, 35 special education school buses, 19 district police vehicles and 16 other district vehicles.

Performing arts, technology

Proposition B funds would be designated for the construction of a new education and performing arts center. The space would be used for district events such as graduation and convocation as well as academic, athletic and performing arts events. The center could also be used as a “protected emergency unification site,” according to the bond steering committee presentation.

Focused on technology advancements, Proposition C would allocate funds for initiatives such as replacing teacher laptops, adding Chromebook charging stations to classrooms, upgrading computer labs, adding remote teacher setups, enhancing districtwide cybersecurity and updating the district’s telephone system.

“Technology is so important in the classroom. We're living in different times where technology's heavily integrated into classrooms. ... Hopefully nothing like [the COVID-19 pandemic] will happen again, but if we had to go back to remote learning, [hopefully] we would have the right to technology we need for both students and teachers,” said Ashley Martinez, who served on the steering committee and is a student at Dekaney High School.

Financial impact

If all three propositions are approved by voters in November, the bond would raise the district’s interest and sinking tax rate by approximately $0.05, Chief Financial Officer Ann Westbrooks said. Though she noted that increase may be offset if trustees approve a maintenance and operations tax rate that is $0.05 lower later this year. The district’s proposed I&S tax rate is $0.40, but trustees have yet to approve the final rate for the 2023 fiscal year.

Voters approved SISD’s last bond in 2016 with a total budget of $330 million and a working budget of $339.8 million, according to the June 23 board of trustees meeting minutes. The bond I&S tax rate was $0.50.

The 50-member bond steering committee met six times over the summer, with the final meeting held Aug. 2. Attendees of the invite-only meetings included school board members, community members, district leaders, parents and students.

For more information on SISD's 2022 bond, click here.