The Harlandale Independent School District board of trustees unanimously called a $125 million bond election Tuesday, which voters will see on the May 7 ballot.
The proposed bond package would fund a new $20 million building for the district’s career and technical education programs (CTE). It would also allocate $9.5 million for the completion of renovations at Memorial Stadium and $26 million for a gym that would also be used for fine arts performances, competitions and graduation ceremonies.
If approved, HISD residents would see their tax rate increase to $0.4968 per $100,000 property valuation, up from the current rate of $0.4306. The new tax rate would raise taxes for the average homeowner in the district by about $60 a year. The average home in HISD is valued at $87,844, said Richard Hernandez, assistant superintendent for finance.
The tax rate would go up again in 2025 to $0.50 but begin decreasing in 2033, when the district pays off old debt, Hernandez said.
School board President Norma Cavazos said the projects in the proposed bond issue demonstrate HISD’s commitment to student success.
“Our students should have exactly what other students in all other districts have,” she said. “They should not be differentiated because of our zip code or where we live. Showing them their worth is overdue.”
The bond package is split into three propositions.
The first proposition dedicates $93.5 million to general facilities, including $20 million for a new CTE building to house plumbing, HVAC, electrical, welding, dental hygiene and cybersecurity programs. Another $5 million would fund a 7,000-square-foot ROTC facility at McCollum High School that would have locker rooms, classrooms, a cadet meeting room and an armory.
Cavazos said the CTE building is important because it would allow students who maybe don’t want to go to college to find other avenues of success.
“Success for me is to have well-rounded students. It’s not just academics, but it’s everything else that they should experience,” she said. “Success comes in different shapes and forms. We want them to be successful in whatever passion.”
Proposition A also includes $26 million for a gym/multipurpose facility that would allow HISD to hold UIL competitions, $2 million to replace the tracks at McCollum and Harlandale high schools, $1.2 million for baseball/softball lighting at the high school campuses and $4 million to add six tennis courts at Tejeda Sports Complex. Another $2.5 million would pay for adding field turf to baseball and softball fields, and $2.4 million would enable HISD to upgrade its technology systems and help protect against cyber attacks.
In addition, the proposition sets aside $30.4 million that a bond committee of community members would determine how to use if the bond passes. The committee would meet to gather feedback and select projects based on HISD’s needs assessment.
Proposition B would dedicate $22 million to refinancing the district’s current maintenance tax obligations, which will save HISD money over time.
The final proposition would devote $9.5 million to complete the second phase of renovations at Memorial stadium, adding dressing areas, a press box and a maintenance and office facility.
District 7 trustee Ricardo Moreno said the bond projects would benefit both students and community members, such as those who use the tracks at HISD’s schools for exercise.
“It’s something special to see that we as a board can collectively come together and do what’s in the best interest of all our kids and something that would be beneficial to our community,” he said.
San Antonio’s largest school district, Northside ISD, also called a May bond election. NISD voters will decide whether to approve the $992 million dollar bond issue that would fund a new $45 million elementary school, $645.5 million in renovations to existing school facilities and $207.3 million in infrastructure upgrades.
Also on May 7, San Antonio residents will be voting on a historic $1.2 billion municipal bond package. Voters will see six propositions on the ballot for parks ($272 million); streets ($472 million); drainage ($170 million); affordable housing ($150 million); public safety facilities ($78 million); and library and cultural facilities ($58 million).