MARBLE FALLS — Despite an earlier defeat of the same bond package in November, the Marble Falls Independent School District board of trustees is putting it to the voters one more time in May.
“The school board felt it was something important for the kids,” said MFISD Superintendent Rob O’Connor.
The board voted Feb. 17 to put the $6.5 million bond on the May 10 ballot.
The trustees didn’t make any changes to the bond, which breaks down to $2.4 million for career and technology programs; $1.4 million for technology; $300,000 for middle school band instruments; $450,000 for drainage repairs at the Marble Falls High School softball/baseball fields; and $2 million for additional maintenance items.
District officials said, because of current school-finance laws and stable property values, the bond wouldn’t raise the property tax rate. In fact, O’Connor pointed out that, by doing a bond for these needs, the district could actually save money by avoiding “recapture.”
Under Texas law, a property-wealthy district such as MFISD must send a certain amount of locally generated funds to the state for redistribution to poorer districts, also known as “Robin Hood.” If MFISD opted to pay for the above improvements through its maintenance and operation funds, the district would have to raise substantially more money because about 46 percent of the additional income would be tapped for Robin Hood.
School board member Kelly Fox said the bond funds would allow the district to really address some critical needs from the elementary campuses through high school.
“In our career and technology program at the high school, we have some tremendous opportunities for the kids, but we need to do some major renovations and improvements to those programs,” she said.
Some of these improvements for the career and technology program include new welding equipment, a greenhouse, horticulture equipment, a new broadcast video production studio and new health science equipment.
The bond also would finance technology improvements including a 1:1 student/laptop ratio for students in middle school and high school and class sets of tablets for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.
“These are things our kids need to be ready for the 21st century,” Fox said.
In November, district voters shot down the same bond proposal 1,154 to 995.
Fox said the board plans on getting the information and message out more effectively and thoroughly. She added the board also must be ready to respond to concerns and questions regarding the bond.
“This time, we have to engage more of the stakeholders,” she said. “Another thing we need to do is inform the parents better. We just didn’t do a good enough job the last time.”
Earlier this year, the school district surveyed parents, business and community leaders regarding the proposed bond and found an overwhelming amount of support for the measure. The effort now, officials said, was to continue informing residents but also encourage them to vote.
Fox remained optimistic about getting the bond passed the second time.
“This time, we’re going to get it done,” she said.
Go to mfisd.ss3.sharpschool.com for more on the bond.