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Voters axe $33.2 million school bond

 
Voters axe $33.2 million school bond
NANNETTE KILBEY-SMITH — Officer Lee Powers uses a flashlight to illuminate the notice board outside La Vernia City Hall for City Secretary Brittani Porter to post the results of the La Vernia Independent School District’s $33.2 million bond election just before 10 p.m. Saturday evening.

The $33.2 million bond proposed by the La Vernia Independent School District board of trustees has been turned down by voters in the school district.

Dr. Josť Moreno was joined Saturday evening May 7 outside La Vernia City Hall by a number of community members, all anxiously waiting for results of the bond election. Final results were posted just before 10 p.m.

With 1,246 votes against and only 293 in favor, the bond was defeated resoundingly.

A Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee met early this year to address and discuss the needs in the district, which has continued to grow in student population as the city of La Vernia and surrounding area has swelled with new families filling the rural landscape which continues to see new subdivisions take shape. The committee proposed in February for the district trustees to place the bond proposal before voters.

The proposal comprised $13.1 million for the junior high school, including a new two-story facility to replace three existing build-ings; $14.7 million for the high school, including ren-ovations and a new kitchen and cafeteria; $400,000 for technology upgrades; and $5 million for various improvements district-wide.

The bond drew support and opposition, polarizing some in the community. It spawned comment threads on social media, and a flurry of editorials in this newspaper.

After the results were announced, Moreno shared some thoughts on the election results, encouraging community members to stay engaged and work together.

In a statement released on the district’s Facebook page, he wrote:

“Our nation was built on great sacrifice in order to give us the rights that we have today. The right to vote is the vehicle used to gather a collective sentiment around a single decision needing to be made within all communities.

“... Bond 2016 was that collective sentiment that we as the La Vernia Community needed to decide upon. Although not all, the majority of voting La Vernians did not feel that it was the right time and plan for our school district. We will take their feedback and continue to plan forward.

“I want to thank those who spent countless hours preparing for Bond 2016 and for advocating for the needs of our students. This is simply a bump in the road; not a dead end.

“We will reevaluate our options and continue to advocate for the students we serve in order to provide them a school system that they can be proud of. The La Vernia Independent School District will continue to strive towards academic excellence to become the premier school district that families seek for their children because of the caliber of teachers and staff that choose to work for us.”

 
 
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