The Lamar CISD board of trustees approved a $1.72 billion bond package during its Aug. 22 board meeting that will be decided by voters in November. The initiative passed with a 4-1 vote, with Trustee Jon Welch dissenting.
LCISD Chief Operating Officer Greg Buchanan said that the passage of the bond package is designed to stay ahead of LCISD’s rapid growth, which continues to outpace the district’s efforts.
“It’s a really complex problem,” he said. “[Even] with rezoning and building new buildings, we just can’t get anything on the ground fast enough to be able to relieve the pressure we’re about to encounter, especially on the north side of the district.”
The bond will focus on completing the remaining 2020 bond projects, including building new campuses, expanding and renovating existing space, updating technology, and upgrading safety and security efforts, should voters opt to approve the package in November.
The bond capacity was originally $1 billion, but inflation ballooned construction costs on those 2020 bond projects, Buchanan said.
The bond will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot as five items, with voters approving or denying each proposition separately, said district officials.
Proposition A would allocate $1.31 billion to the construction and land purchase of four elementary schools, one middle school, and a complex that includes a middle school, junior high and high school package as well as the addition of 500 seats in cafeterias and gyms at Foster, George Ranch, Randle and Tomas high schools and 1,000 seats at Fulshear high school. Portable buildings for the 2023-24 school year and districtwide safety and security upgrades are also included in the proposition, according to district documents.
Proposition B, meanwhile, would allocate $189.2 million to build a career and technical education center as the district looks to provide options for students who may seek careers directly after high school.
“We want to make sure when students leave Lamar CISD they are sought after—not just competitive,” LCISD Superintendent Roosevelt Nivens said. “We want to make sure that when they leave us they have choices and opportunity.”
Proposition C would dedicate $16.77 million to classroom and district technology hardware, such as new computers and graphic printers; Proposition D would add LED lighting and new turf to Traylor Stadium worth $4.98 million; and Proposition E would allocate $194.9 million to purchase land and to build a second stadium, which would feature 10,000 seats, locker rooms, band storage, and career and technology education classrooms.
The 2022 bond authorization, if passed, would be issued in three annual bond sales beginning in February 2023, said Terrell Palmer, one of the district’s financial advisors. The $1.72 billion bond package would increase LCISD’s interest and sinking tax rate from $0.37 in 2021 to $0.47 in fiscal year 2023-23.