School board considers $51.7 million bond election

Posted at 5:24 PM, Feb 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:31:25-04

The Salado School Board is considering whether to call for a $51.7 million bond election for next May to build a new middle school with a capacity of 586 students and make other improvements.

Some of the proposed upgrades include adding new softball and baseball fields, connecting three different elementary school buildings and making improvements to the football and soccer stadium.

 “We don’t have adequate seating. We don’t have adequate parking. We’ve outgrown our athletic facilities in term of baseball, softball and football,” Salado ISD Superintendent Michael Novotny said.

If the district goes out for a bond election and the taxpayers approve the tax increase, homeowners with a house valued at $100,000 would pay $238 more in taxes every year.

Novotny said the need for the upgrades come from the increase in enrollment.

“Our district has grown over the last five years by 506 students.”  Novotny said “We have four schools and three of them are already over capacity and using portables. The only left not over capacity is the high school.”

Thomas Arnold Middle School teacher Niki Howton said changing the current conditions would be a positive change.

Right now, the students who receive instruction in portable classrooms have to walk to the main building with a classmate when they need to use the restroom.

“They lose 10-15- 20 minutes sometimes going to the bathroom. Just the walking time,” Howton said.

Howton was one of the 58 members of the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee, which evaluated school facilities and analyzed projected district growth. The group ultimately recommended the school board to pursue a bond election.

Howton said the proposal would help increase teaching time and make school safer.

“It’s just not safe for kids to be out in the elements to be wandering around in the area where there is no supervision. They’re not in a building,” Howton said.

The $41.2 million proposed middle school would take three grade levels from the Thomas Arnold Elementary School campus, which would prevent the district from using portable classrooms for at least 10 years, according to Novotny.

Two community surveys have been conducted to ask registered voters about the bond election.

On February 12, the Salado School board will have a regular board meeting, during which Salado residents can voice their opinions about the subject.

The school board will have until Feb. 16 to decide whether to call for a bond on May 5. 

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