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Safety concerns among reasons some want a new Connally ISD elementary school

Connally ISD Elementary School playground
Posted at 4:45 PM, Mar 27, 2024

WACO, Texas — Some neighbors and voters within Connally ISD in the City of Lacy Lakeview are hoping to build a new elementary school.

25 News' Bobby Poitevint went to a town hall at the current elementary school Tuesday evening, to learn more about why they said a proposed $60 million Connally ISD bond — essentially a loan — is needed for the project.

From safety features not up to code, like not having sprinklers in the ceiling, to a playground that's just too close to I-35, and safety concerns about a young ladies bathroom with an indoor and outdoor entrance — some town hall attendees say it’s time students get an up-to-code and safer school at a new location further from the interstate.

"Just overall, to house our students, because we have so many students," said Connally ISD elementary teacher and former student Carrie Hudson.

School staff say there are 345 students at the elementary school.

Superintendent Jill Bottelberghe says the library is 1,500 square feet under The Texas Education Agency’s minimum requirements, and completion of the project would relocate grades allowing them to go from five to four campuses.

“There is a saying that, kind of the way of the school, is the way of the community," Bottelberghe said.

"Our community is growing and we want it to thrive — we want it to move forward to the next century learning."

Kindergartener Joy Stoglin was at the meeting with her father, and she’s already looking ahead to her future education with in the school district.

Her father, Devan, wants to see the new elementary school built.

"It is long overdue — I say that because I actually have four children that attend Connally," Devan said.

"My oldest is 17, and we have been apart of Connally since Pre-K."

“I realize I’m going to have to pay a little more on my taxes which I’m all for — it’s for the children anyway," said one voter JT Copeland, who has had children go to Connally ISD schools.

Election Day is May 4 — if approved, this would impact taxes of people within Connally ISD except for property owners 65 and up.

For more exact details on how this could impact your taxes and more information about the project, click here.