Superintendent to host chat about bond next week
The next virtual Superintendent’s Chat scheduled for October 19 will focus on the upcoming bond election for Elgin ISD.
The 2021 bond package will be up for election on November 2 this fall. There will be three separate bond propositions totaling $190 million. The first proposition would fund new school campuses and expansions, maintenance projects and more. The second proposition would fund renovations and additions to the high school stadium, and the third proposition would fund an indoor multipurpose facility for athletics, extracurricular activities and more.
Next Tuesday evening at 6 p.m., Elgin ISD Superintendent Dr. Jodi Duron will discuss the bond proposal in an online Zoom meeting open to the public. The meeting will cover information about the bond committee process, how the propositions were decided, how much the bond will be and how it would impact taxes.
There will be a link posted on Elgin ISD’s website, www.elginisd.net, to join the Zoom meeting.
To learn more about the 2021 proposed bonds and the process behind it, read below or visit www.elgincourier.com.
About the Elgin ISD 2021 bond package
This spring, Elgin ISD appointed the Citizen's Bond Advisory Committee, a group of 30 community members given the duty of representing the Elgin community in assessing the school district’s needs, planning the needed facilities, and developing a bond package for the November 2021 election and presenting their recommendation to the Elgin ISD Board of Trustees.
The committee met eight times each Thursday throughout May and June. During meetings, committee members learned about the school finance system, reviewed demographic projections and district needs, heard from students and staff, and even took a tour of various campuses and facilities on May 13.
According to the findings of the demographic projections, enrollment already exceeds capacity at Elgin High School and Booker T. Washington Elementary School, and will exceed capacity within the next few years for Neidig Elementary School and the intermediate and middle schools.
The committee was presented with many priority projects to choose from, from new elementary schools to upgrades to Wildcat Stadium, along with the scope of work and the justification for each project. The cost of all identified priority projects totaled over $300 million. Elgin ISD can levy up to $195 million in bond debt without raising the tax rate, so the committee was tasked with choosing which projects should be included in a bond package that does not exceed this amount.
The recommended bond package is split up into three separate propositions: a new video scoreboard and press box expansion for Wildcat Stadium, a new indoor practice facility, and all of the construction and maintenance projects.
The new video scoreboard and press box expansion would be the first step in expanding Wildcat Stadium as the school district grows. The expanded press box would accommodate the equipment needed by the new scoreboard. The committee was given a couple of options for this project and chose the less costly option for $7,240,000 that could be added on to in the future.
The indoor practice facility, which would cost $11,050,000, would provide space for athletic programs and other groups to practice and rehearse, even in bad weather, and would accommodate the school’s programs as they grow.
The bulk of the bond package would be a $171.71-million proposition for building and expanding education and administration facilities:
- Two new elementary schools for $32.5 million each would address projected future enrollment by increasing capacity at both the elementary and intermediate levels. The plan is to move the fifth-graders back to the elementary schools, leaving the sixth grade at the intermediate school.
- Elgin High School, where enrollment already exceeds capacity, would be renovated and expanded for $62 million. The committee chose the more cost-effective solution to addressing population growth, rather than building an expensive new campus to house the 11th and 12th grades. The expansion would include an auditorium.
- The facilities for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs would be improved for $2.9 million, allowing for flexibility and growth in CTE program offerings and accommodating increased student interest.
- Selected high-priority maintenance projects and upgrades “top-to-bottom” across each campus in the school district would cost $17.5 million to take care of existing facilities. These projects include mechanical replacements, technology upgrades, roofing repairs and window replacements.
- The committee allocated $5 million to purchase additional land for future growth.
The committee’s recommendation for the 2021 bond totals $190 million. As the school district’s current bond capacity is $195 million, the bond package would result in no tax rate increase for Elgin ISD taxpayers. Elgin ISD hasn’t put a bond on the ballot since 2007, and the district’s past financial stewardship and the future growth of property values in the district has been cited as the reason for a $190 million bond package not impacting the tax rate.
The proposed bond package was presented to the Elgin ISD school board on July 19, and the board voted unanimously to move forward with calling a bond election during its next meeting on August 16.
How, where and when to vote
The election will take place on Tuesday, November 2, with early voting from October 18 through 29.
The deadline to register to vote in the November 2 election was Monday, October 4.
Elgin ISD spans portions of three counties: Bastrop, Travis and Lee. Each county has its own early voting times and polling locations for the voters registered in that county.
Bastrop County early voting polling locations:
- Bastrop County Courthouse Annex, 804 Pecan Street, Bastrop
- Smithville City Hall, 317 Main Street, Smithville
- Cedar Creek United Methodist Church, 560 FM 535, Cedar Creek
- Elgin Public Library, 404 North Main Street, Elgin
Early voting is available from Monday, October 18 through Friday, October 22 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, October 23 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Monday, October 25 through Wednesday, October 27 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Thursday, October 28 and Friday, October 29 from 78 a.m. to 7 p.m.
On Election Day, voters must cast their ballot at the polling location for their precinct. For precincts 4017, 4018, 4019, 4020 and 4021, the polling location is the Elgin Public Library.
To verify your registration status, find your voting place and see your sample ballot, visit www.bastropvotes.org/voter-information-2/voter-lookup/ and input your information.
On Election Day, Travis County voters can vote at any polling location and are not limited to voting in the precinct where they are registered to vote.
Early voting begins Monday, October 18 and ends on Friday, October 29. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
To verify your registration status, find a list of polling places and see your sample ballot, visit www.votetravis.com
Lee County polling locations:
- Giddings Public Library, 276 North Orange Street, Giddings
- American Legion Hall, 304 South Rockdale Street, Lexington
- Blue Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 4184 West FM 696, Lexington
- Dime Box Fire Station No. 1: 1010 Stephen F. Austin Boulevard, Dime Box
- Lee County Sheriff’s Office, 2122 FM 448, Giddings
Voters can cast their Election Day ballots at any of these vote centers.
Early voting begins Monday, October 18 and ends on Friday, October 29. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information on voting in Lee County, visit www.co.lee.tx.us/page/lee.Elections.