The Burnet Consolidated Independent School District is closer to possibly calling a bond election for the May 1 ballot.
During the board meeting Jan. 18, administrators gave a report to trustees on projects for the bond. District leaders are still finalizing cost estimates with contractors and will have those available during the Feb. 8 board meeting, which is also when trustees could approve putting the bond on the ballot.
“The bond program is comprised of projects identified by the administration, in coordination with a community advisory committee to address three main goals,” BCISD Superintendent Keith McBurnett stated in a letter to district staff.
According to officials, the 2021 bond program would help the district prepare for growth, take advantage of lower construction costs and better interest rates than if put off for another year or two, and make better use of the state’s school finance system.
McBurnett pointed out that under the Texas school finance system, the maintenance and operations portion of the district’s budget wasn’t designed for new construction and renovation projects, which is where the interest and sinking portion of the budget comes in.
BCISD, as well as other school districts, are also facing the prospect of less funding from the state for general operations.
“Paying for allowable expenses out of bond funds protects and preserves the operating budget that is used to pay the salaries of staff and purchase supplies and materials for classroom,” McBurnett stated.
The district called for a bond election in May 2020, which included a $24 million Proposition A and a $5.8 million Proposition B, but the board opted to postpone the bond election to the Nov. 3 general election.
However, in July 2020, BCISD trustees decided it was best to cancel the bond election over COVID-19 concerns.
Under the current plan, BCISD is considering four propositions instead of two. This is to comply with a new state law that requires school districts to provide propositions for certain projects such as technology and athletics.
During the recent board meeting, staff told the board the four propositions would be:
- Proposition A for improvements to school facilities districtwide, accommodations for growth in student enrollment, and school buses
- Proposition B for middle and high school athletic facilities
- Proposition C for districtwide technology improvements, which includes instructional technology, infrastructure, and campus security
- Proposition D for a multipurpose student activities center
One of the biggest challenges the district faces is growth at Bertram Elementary School. Based on the current projection, officials believe the campus will exceed its capacity by 2022.
Administrators and the community advisory committee have also identified a number of other projects on every campus.
In other business jan. 18, the board recognized several students, including Burnet and Quest high school students of the month, Burnet High School state cross-country competitors, and all-academic high school football honorees.
The district and staff also recognized board members as January is School Board Recognition Month in Texas.