A $268 million bond referendum will be on the ballot for voters to consider this November.
By a unanimous 7-0 vote, the Midlothian ISD board of trustees voted on Wednesday to allow voters to decide on the bond referendum during the presidential election. The election will be Nov. 8 with early voting running from Oct. 24 through Nov. 4.
“The hard work and diligence of the Growth Management Committee was instrumental in helping our school district develop a plan to handle the growth in student population we are experiencing,” said Dr. Lane Ledbetter, MISD Superintendent. “This comprehensive bond package will provide new schools, renovations to existing schools, up-to-date technology and security, basic maintenance and capital upgrades.”
Board of trustees president Todd Hemphill stated at previous council meetings that this bond is meant to take care of a verity of needs around the district for years into the future and will not be used all at once if approved by voters.
“Typically a bond focuses only looks at a specific area that may only influence 15 percent of the students. Everyone will benefit from this type of a bond,” Hemphill said previously. “This is a larger bond than before. But I would challenge anyone to look at that number and find anything gold plated. It is a challenge, but it is also a great opportunity.”
The original bond proposed by the Growth Management Committee at the board's July 18 meeting was for a $320 million amount. Facility projects included in the recommendations were the construction of an eighth elementary school, a third middle school and finish phase two of Heritage high as well as moving J.R. Irvin to a new building able to accommodate more students and repurposing other district buildings. Those projects alone were estimated to cost $227 million by committee members.
Recommended improvements to sports facilities and to increase technology and campus safety rounded out the original bond proposal.
But after a review of the initial proposal, the board was able to reduce the amount to the $268 million. The leaner bond contains the majority of the projects proposed by the committee to address needs due to a growing student population, increasing technology needs and campus safety and security, according to a press release from the district.
The forty-member volunteer committee included parents, grandparents, school personnel and business leaders from across the district community. They received information about the district's enrollment numbers and predictions, financial standing, current facilities, current and coming technology and the district's overall stratigraphic goals. The package focuses on providing enough space to providing opportunities for growth and changes in safe facilities and the right equipment while providing equally high-quality education opportunities to all students.
Midlothian ISD is projected to reach 13,000-14,000 students in the next 10 years, the district press release stated. With the projected population and construction growth in the district, district staff said it will not be necessary to raise property taxes in order to fund the bond package.
“I speak on behalf of every member of the Growth Management Committee when I say it was an honor to serve over the past five months developing a comprehensive blueprint to manage the long-term needs and fast growth of our school district,” said Wayne Shuffield, a member of the committee. “And we must commend our School Board and Administration for providing a calm hand of guidance and the wisdom of their expertise to make sure our final plan maintained our schools of excellence to benefit every student in a fiscally responsible manner.”
The MISD administration is available to answer any questions about the bond referendum. To arrange an interview or schedule an informative presentation for local clubs or organizations, please contact MISD Director of Communications, Jana Pongratz, at (972) 775-8296.