The Decatur School Board Monday continued discussions about a possible bond issue to address the needs of the district.
They now have a possible price tag to go with it: just over $8 million.
Superintendent Rod Townsend said that is an estimate of needs in four different areas: transportation, technology, security and facilities.
The biggest need appears to be in transportation, which features an aging bus fleet. When the district decided to bring transportation in-house instead of contracting it out in 2005, Decatur purchased 25 buses at a cost of nearly $1.6 million. Those buses are now nearly 10 years old, and some have as many as 186,000 miles on them.
Enrollment growth since 2005 has also required the district to add five regular education routes and one special education route.
“Something will have to be done,” Townsend said. “A decision will need to be made in the next one or two years.”
His suggestion is to purchase 25 buses, plus a couple of other vehicles at an estimated cost of $2.75 million.
Technology upgrades could cost an estimated $2.3 million, Townsend said. That would include upgrading computer labs at all three elementary schools. He said the upgrades are needed because the state is moving toward online assessments.
Other technology upgrades would include infrastructure, such as replacing fiber-optic cables that are nearly 15 years old.
Security enhancements could cost an estimated $1.2 million. That would include card-reader entry on every campus and extra surveillance cameras at the high school and a couple of other parking lots around the district.
Facility upgrades, which could carry a price tag of around $1.8 million, include:
- a parking lot at Carson Elementary
- lighting sensors at all campuses
- cafeteria upgrades
- resurfacing tennis courts at the middle school
- districtwide freezer for food services
- HVAC at the special services building
- addressing parking lot issues at the seventh and eighth grade campus
- adding two tennis courts at high school
- recarpeting at Rann, Carson, the sixth and seventh and eighth grade campuses
- repainting hallways
- replacing sewer lines at the middle school
- a new roof for the middle school
- replacing HVAC, exterior doors and windows at the support services building
Board members have until Feb. 27 to call a bond election next spring, but Townsend said a decision needs to be reached by December or January.
In other business, the board:
- learned the district had received the “superior achievement” designation with the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST). The district has received the highest rating each year since the system was started nearly a decade ago.
- approved a bid for two Chevy Cruze vehicles from James Wood Motors. The cars will be used for transporting teachers to training, coaches to games and small numbers of students to competitions.
- received an update on the new agriculture facility project, which is a little behind schedule. The project is now expected to be completed in early to mid-December.
- honored Debbie Shaw from Rann Elementary as educator of the month and Camaron Garrett as support staff employee of the month. Decatur High School choir students were also recognized.