Public is a no-show at school bond meeting


To an almost empty library, Fort Stockton Independent School District officials held a meeting to discuss the proposed $85 million bond.

The meeting was designed for the public to ask any questions they had relating to the bond but the room was inhabited by school board members, school employees and one member of the public.

The meeting went over the specifics of the bond, which will be voted on Nov. 5.

With the bond, each school would see some sort of work done on it.

“Apache is scheduled for a major overhaul in the bond,” said Superintendent Ralph Traynham. “It is old but it's taken care of.”

Traynham also said he wants to add additional playground equipment to the elementary schools so the students aren't crowded with the growth in populations.

The construction of the new intermediate school would help lower teacher to student ratios, but they are still going over concepts of exactly what the school would look like.

The middle school would see handrails on the bleachers, making it safer for everyone to use.

The middle school and high school tennis courts would get additional lighting.

“The more we can light up the buildings at night, will make it more secure,” said Traynham.

The technology center currently houses the server that the school district, county and city use for network.

They need to expand and build a room specifically for the servers that will allow for years of functionality.

“It was not built for that,” said Traynham.

One of the questions from the resident in attendance was about the teacher housing.

Currently the district owns property that they will be putting housing on whether or not the bond passes.

The resident had concerns over the district being landlords and the property tax lost on the location.

Since the district owns the property anyways, no property tax would be lost either way since the district does not pay them.

“To me, the teachers are paid well enough to buy their own home,” she said.

The teacher housing would be offered at an affordable rate in a time when the cost of renting houses in Fort Stockton has skyrocketed.

“We've lost more teachers to high rent than lack of housing,” said Assistant Superintendent Gil-Rey Madrid.

The six duplexes will be three bedroom and two bathroom and are expected to be completed by spring.

“What we're trying to do is attract teachers here and keep them,” said School Board Member Anastacio Dominguez.

Other nearby districts offer teacher housing such as Monahans and Pecos, something Fort Stockton has to compete with.

“It's an investment,” said Dominguez.

On the website they have a video explaining the bond as well as a tax impact calculator for people to figure out what their taxes would be.