Around this time next month, the Decatur school board is expected to take action on a proposed bond issue.
There are still several decisions to make before then.
At Monday’s meeting, the board and Superintendent Rod Townsend continued to look at items to include in a possible bond package. Those items have been prioritized, and up to three packages might be considered by voters.
A proposed package #1 contains items that are considered to be the most pressing need or highest priority for the district. That includes $2.75 million for 25 new buses and other vehicles; $1.2 million for security upgrades such as card readers at all campuses, security cameras and related technology infrastructure; $3.2 million for technology including one “refresh” of computers districtwide, wireless network enhancements and fiber optic cable replacement; and nearly $2.5 million for “priority one” items related to facilities.
Those priority one facility items include motion sensors for lighting, roof and gutter repairs or replacement, plumbing repairs, numerous upgrades at the support services building, resurfacing of the high school and middle school tracks, a baseball/softball pressbox and restroom at the baseball/softball complex.
Proposed packages #2 and #3 each contain additional facility-related items.
Proposed package #2 includes nearly $6.2 million for items such as field turf at Eagle Stadium, two additional tennis courts and concession stand/restroom facility at the high school tennis courts, restrooms/concession stand at Thompson Street track, and an indoor multipurpose center at the high school.
Proposed package #3 includes nearly $3.7 million for items such as field turf at the high school track, track fencing and parking lot at Decatur High School and a separate gym at Rann Elementary.
The items included in the bond are subject to change, and Townsend said he expects some of the items might not make it into the final bond packages.
Some of the items in a package might be contingent on the passage of another package. For instance, if field turf at Eagle Stadium is approved by voters, then junior high games can be held there instead of the Thompson Street field, eliminating the need for the restrooms/concession stand project there.
The merits of presenting a single bond package rather than multiple bond packages was also discussed.
Jeff Robert, financial advisor with First Southwest, said it is rare to see more than two packages presented to voters.
“If you could package them together and you feel that it could pass, I would rather see you do that,” he said. “But if you’ve got those items that are maybe less critical that could defeat the whole package, a multiple proposition is probably the way to go.”
It is still up to the board to decide if the bond issue features one, two or three packages. Trustees are expected to vote on calling a bond issue at the January meeting.
In other business the board:
- approved the annual audit report;
- honored the Decatur High School volleyball team on their state championship;
- honored the winners of the district’s Christmas card contest;
- honored Jami Petty, a first grade teacher at Carson Elementary, as the district’s educator of the month;
- honored Ann Boyles as the support staff employee of the month; and
- recognized the work of Learning Ladder daycare.