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Group recommends $33.2M school bond election

 
Group recommends $33.2M school bond election
NANNETTE KILBEY-SMITH — La Vernia Independent School District trustees (from left) James Barnett, Dr. Cody Miller, superintendent Dr. José Moreno, and trustee Susan Reinhard listen intently to proposals for campus improvements and renovations Feb. 1. A bond proposal may be on the May 7 ballot for La Vernia voters.

A long-range facilities committee -- 40-plus members of the La Vernia community, school personnel, parents, business members, and more -- has recommended to the La Vernia Independent School District place a $33.2 million bond election on the ballot before voters in the May 7 general election.

Committee co-chairs Harvey Clark and Paul Brunner, joined by teachers Dana Kincaid and Margaret Wortham, made the recommendation Feb. 1 to the board and Dr. José Moreno, district superintendent. The committee met five times in five weeks, reviewing priorities, such as growth, building age and condition, safety and security, and technology.

The proposal includes extensive renovation and construction of approximately $13.1 million on the La Vernia Junior High School campus -- including replacing the 200, 300, and 400 buildings, with 26 classrooms and a new library and band hall. The 100 building -- the oldest of the district’s buildings, erected circa 1930 -- will be saved, under the proposed plan.

Monday night’s presentation reflected hours of discussion and review, the presenters said, saying that consensus was hard-won. Discussion occasionally became animated, especially regarding the junior high school campus, Wortham said.

Brunner concurred.

“The committee felt it was such a point of contention ... we didn’t want it to be instantly something that would be a stumbling block,” Brunner said.

“It’s a building of significance,” Wortham added. “It would’ve been something that would make some community members immediately vote against the bond.”

Community members had until Jan. 29 to complete a survey that included reference to the junior high’s 100 building, and more. (See page 3 for related article, and “LVISD seeks community input for facility planning,” Jan. 28.)

The proposed plan also will address:

•Traffic circulation improvements at the junior high

•$14.7 million additions and renovations at the high school, including a new secured entry vestibule; repurposing of the administration spaces in the 400 and 500 buildings to create more classrooms; repurposing the current cafeteria for culinary arts, choir, band ensemble, and more; repurposing of the existing culinary and theater arts areas to house family consumer science; repurposing the family consumer science and choir facilities for a girls weight room and athletic offices; changing the current weight room to girls locker room and showers, and renovation of the boys athletics area

•$400,000 in technology infrastructure upgrades, such as cabling and switches.

The board also adopted a district calendar for the 2016-17 school year, with 171 days -- 76,950 minutes, under current legislation -- of student instruction. The first day of school will be Aug. 24, and the last day will be May 26.

Trustees also reviewed -- in closed session -- personnel matters, including the potential employment of a new chief financial officer. Read more about this in next week’s La Vernia News.

Tax impact

Tax bills on an average home in the district, valued at $200,259, will increase by a total of $289.05, if the bond issue is placed before voters in May and approved:

•Current total tax rate: $1.375 per $100 of property valuation, includes 33.5 cents for repayment of debt

•Proposed total tax rate: $1.54 per $100 of property valuation, includes 50 cents for repayment of debt

Feb. 4 meeting

The Long-Range Facilities Committee and LVISD school board will host a workshop and meeting Thursday, Feb. 4, at 6 p.m. in the main high school cafeteria. This meeting is open to the public.

 
 
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