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Burnet CISD calls for $52.5M bond election

Bertram Elementary School

The Burnet Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees called for a $52.5 million bond election for May 1. The bond package is split into four propositions.

The unanimous decision came during a board meeting Monday, Feb. 8. The board had initially called for a bond package in 2020, but it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Goals of the May 2021 bond, according to district officials, include preparing for student enrollment growth while taking advantage of lower construction costs and better interest rates.

Superintendent Keith McBurnett pointed to neighboring Liberty Hill ISD to illustrate what BCISD might be facing in the coming years.

On Jan. 25, the Liberty Hill school board was presented a $491.7 million bond proposal for a May election. McBurnett said the LISD superintendent called what his district is facing “staggering growth.”

“That is not Burnet CISD today, but it will be Burnet CISD in the future,” McBurnett said. “By addressing growth proactively today, we can maintain a low tax rate compared to surrounding school districts and have sufficient facilities to serve our students.”

The BCISD May 2021 bond includes items for every campus. One concern BCISD officials have is the projected growth of Bertram Elementary School, which is the farthest east of its campuses and closest to Liberty Hill. BCISD officials estimate the Bertram Elementary student population will exceed campus capacity within the next couple of years.

The bond has four propositions.

Proposition A is at $27.5 million and includes

  • Bertram Elementary School classroom additions and renovations
  • nurse’s station renovations on all campuses
  • new replacement buses
  • districtwide parking lot and drive renovations
  • improvement projects at all campuses

Proposition B is at $11.8 million and includes:

  • Burnet Middle School field upgrades for student and community use
  • Burnet Middle School weight room upgrades
  • Burnet High School combination weight room/locker rooms for boys and girls
  • baseball and softball field turf

Proposition C is at $4.3 million and includes:

  • electronic safety controls for all classroom doors
  • new security cameras at Burnet High School
  • network and server upgrades
  • classroom instructional technology

Proposition D is at $8.9 million and includes an all-weather, non-climate-controlled multipurpose student activities center for middle school and high school athletics, band, the Highlandettes, cheerleaders, physical eduction classes, and elementary field days.

According to district officials, the bond package is not projected to  increase BCISD’s total tax rate. A school district’s tax rate is broken down into maintenance and operations and interest and sinking. 

The maintenance and operation portion budgets for a school district’s daily expenses such as utilities, teachers and staff salaries, and supplies. It’s not designed to accommodate new construction and renovation. 

Interest and sinking, sometimes referred to as debt service, supports capital improvement projects.

Currently, BCISD’s overall tax rate is $1.146 per $100 property valuation. The district has lowered the rate by 18.4 cents since 2015, and officials believe they are on track to shave an additional half-cent off this coming fall.

BCISD has set up a bond information page on its website. Residents can even submit questions.

daniel@thepicayune.com