PORT ISABEL — From facility renovations and parking lot upgrades to new tennis courts and an aquatic center, many areas of this school district’s campuses may be revamped in the near future.
However, it’s up to the voters to decide this upcoming election on Nov. 2 whether they’re in favor or against the proposed projects.
The Point Isabel Independent School District will have a bond election for three bond propositions that total $42,500,000.
On the ballot, voters will vote on each proposition separately.
According to school district officials, there will not be a tax rate increase to fund these proposed projects.
The school district’s tax rate is $1.009 per each $100 of property value.
“With the bond election, we’re going to stay at $1.009,” Point Isabel ISD Chief Financial Officer Christy Gonzalez said. “In Cameron County, Point Isabel ISD has the lowest tax rate. Also, the lowest tax rate among all 37 districts in the Region One Education Service Center area.”
According to Gonzalez, the bonds will be paid from local property taxes specifically designated to pay bonds, which is the interest and sinking (I&S) tax rate.
Gonzalez explained that there will be no tax rate increase necessary to pay for the bonds because current tax rate levels will be sufficient to service current debt, as well as the new bond debt payments.
“Funds collected through I&S taxes are net to the district, not recaptured by the state,” she added.
Proposition A would cost $26,965,000.
The first proposition touches on proposed improvements for all of the school district’s campuses. The school district has four campuses, approximately 1,950 students and more than 340 employees.
Proposed improvements for the school district’s elementary schools include — playground canopies for heat protection, an outdoor multi-purpose learning center, walking trails, restroom upgrades and science lab upgrades.
“The bond election would provide Derry Elementary with an updated ADA compliant playground with brand new canopies over them to protect children from the sun and brand new basketball courts where the little ones will be able to play to their heart’s content in a fun and safe space,” Derry Elementary Principal Sonia Harry said.
Proposed improvements for the school district’s junior high school include — walking trails, an outdoor multi-purpose learning facility, science lab upgrades, locker room upgrades, outdoor fencing for safety and security, parking lot upgrades and gym renovation to create a multi-purpose auditorium.
Some proposed improvements for the school district’s high school include — auditorium upgrades for fine arts and other school and community activities, science lab upgrades, band hall upgrades and a career and technology wing for courses, such as welding, robotics, culinary arts, engineering and cyber security.
Additional improvements include — artificial turf for softball and baseball fields, new tennis courts that are enclosed and UIL competition compliant. The new tennis court will also have a seating area with canopies.
The second proposition would cost $3,035,000.
Improvements made in Proposition B include — artificial turf for the school district’s football field, a football scoreboard, fencing and additional seating.
The final proposition would cost $12,500,000.
Proposition C includes the addition of an aquatic center with bleachers, lockers and other amenities.
According to Gonzalez, students at Garriga and Derry Elementary Schools will be provided with swimming lessons throughout the school year.
Students at the junior high and high school would continue practicing to compete at UIL swim competitions.
Gonzalez added that the community would have access to the aquatic center for swimming lessons or recreational use before or after school.
History of bond proposals
On Aug. 16, the school board unanimously approved holding a Nov. 2 election that will have the bond election on the ballot.
According to Superintendent of Schools Teri A. Capistran, the district began evaluating the needs of its campuses and identified the most critical areas of improvement last year.
This summer, the school district created a bond committee that consisted of community members from the Laguna Madre area.
“The committee evaluated the areas in need and agreed with all of our recommendations to move forward in having a bond election this coming November,” Capistran said. “All of this, without an increase to our tax rate.”