FSISD makes case for $85 million bond

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The Fort Stockton Independent School District Board of Education has placed a $85 million bond on the Nov. 5 ballot.
It is asking voters in the district to approve the plan, which includes a new intermediate school, teacher housing, and upgrades to all of its campuses. According to the district, taxpayers would see a cumulative increase in taxes over seven years. For example, a property valued at $150,000 would pay a total of $82.50 more in school taxes over the seven years.
The school district will be hold a public meeting to discuss the bond at 6 p.m. Oct. 17 in the library of the Fort Stockton Intermediate School campus. The public is invited to attend.
“It's a vision to the future,” Superintendent Ralph Traynham said. “It's keeping our facilities updated and modern for our students.”
If the bond is passed, Traynham said he wants construction to start immediately.
School board member Freddie Martinez said the proposed renovations are important.
“It has plans for a new Intermediate School. I feel that is needed because of the increase in student numbers,” he said. “New teacher housing will help attract and keep teachers to our district. All of these are a real positive for FSISD.”
Payoff other bonds
The school district plans to pay off early its bonds from 2010, 2011 and 2012 bonds early, leaving only the repayment of the 2013 bond for $32,140,000.
There is no penalty for paying off bonds early but there is a benefit for school districts who have property wealthy schools.
Security
Security upgrades are a part of several of the bond-funded projects, including upgrades at the Apache and Alamo elementary schools and at the middle school.
“There really is a big focus if the bond passes on safety and security,” said Traynham. “For our students and for our staff.”
All of the campuses would use a keyless entry system where staff scan their barcoded badge to enter. This will allow a former employee to be immediately denied access to the school by deactivating their barcode.
Windows would also be upgraded to more break-resistant glass. Unneeded windows would be removed and walled over.
Lighting would also be installed to eliminate “dark” areas on campuses.
New construction
The new intermediate school comes with a $35 million price tag. Traynham said the current intermediate school is near capacity and will struggle to accommodate the pending large influx of students from the elementary schools.
The bond also calls for a new outdoor athletics facility for $8.5 million. It would house all of the school's outdoor sports teams, while converting the existing field house into locker rooms for visiting teams and officials.
The district would also spend $500,000 for the installation of an outdoor court facility either at the new intermediate school or at the existing campus. The lighted court area would be open for public use after school hours.

HVAC Replacement • PRICE TAG: $3,000,000 • WHAT: The district would replace all units that are more than 15 years old. About 25 percent of the district's HVAC units would be replaced. The other 75 percent have been replaced in the past five years.

CURRICULUM • PRICE TAG: $2.405,000 • WHAT: The funds would be used for giving students more access to technology, including the issuance of laptop computers to grades beyond the high school. Reading programs like Fountas and Pinnell would also be added.

  Maintenance: $1,000,000 to cover any last-minute emergencies, such as busted pipes or other problems found during construction. This will also cover replacement of equipment in the cafeterias. •

Playground Equipment: $1,000,000 to ensure all campuses install age-appropriate equipment, and the replacement of wood chips with softer synthetic-rubber surfaces. •

Outdoor Courts: $500,000 for the installation of an outdoor court facility at the new intermediate school or at the existing campus. The lighted court area would be open for public use after school hours. •

Uncovered Security Costs: $1,500,000 for any security improvements not covered in the other projects. This will include keyless entry systems and window improvements. •

Outdoor Lighting: $750,000 for adding lighting to “dark” areas on school grounds, including the tennis courts at the middle and high schools. • Student Seating: $500,000 for upgrades to chairs and desks fro students.

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