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Goose Creek CISD proposes new bond issue of $335m

Jessica Woods

HIGHLANDS – The Chamber of Commerce heard the details of a new bond issue that is proposed by the Goose Creek CISD for the election in May.

The presentation was made by Jessica Woods, director of the Chamber, and a school board member representing District 3. Woods presented the facts behind the need for the bond issue, but did not take a position on whether to vote to approve.

The new bond is named GCbond2019 to distinguish it from the bond issue that failed to pass last year. The new bond will raise $335 million for a variety of needs, but will not include the multi-purpose and athletic center from last year’s bond, which had two propositions totaling $437.5 million.

The 2019 bond referendum includes $114m for updating Aging schools and Repairs, $155m for New School construction, $12m for Athletic improvements, $3.75m for Safety and Security improvements, and $49m for Technology.

Details of this bond issue were put together by a Citizens Bond Planning Committee made up of 42 community leaders, parents, and teachers representing a cross section of the District.

This committee, made up for proponents and opponents of the 2018 bond referendum, received information on current facilities and program needs, demographic growth projections, and then toured the schools.

In January 2019 they made a proposal and final recommendation to the GCCISD Board of Trustees, which approved the committee’s recommendations in February by a unanimous vote of 7-0.

For aging schools and repairs, which will take place throughout the District, it includes new roofs, renovations to mechanical and A/C systems, and new buses.

For New Construction, included are two new elementary schools, a new junior school, and an Education Service Center.

For Athletic improvements, included is a new field house at Stallworth Stadium and running tracks at five junior schools.

For Safety and Security improvements, buses will be equiped with camera systems, and GPS tracking. Throughout the District, additional security cameras will be installed, and the Police Department vehicle fleet will be expanded.

For Technology improvements, all schools will get new interactive white boards and projectors, replacement of computer lab and library technology equipment, replace teacher stations, replace all administrative computers, upgrade the wireless network infrastructure, and replace all network cabling older than 2005.

Woods said that the impact on taxpayers is calculated to be $115 per year for a residence that is valued at $100,000, or proportionately more. The estimated tax rate would increase by $0.1150. The current I & S rate is $0.26189, and cannot increase beyond $0.50 by state law.

If you are over 65 years of age, your taxes can be frozen at the dollar amount on your homestead. Therefore, the elderly would not see an increase in your homestead property taxes for this bond referendum.

Woods was assisted in her presentation by the Chamber president, Jim Wadzinski. He said that the bond referendum was endorsed by the Chamber.

Growth projections for the District indicate there will be 4600 new homes built in the next 5 years.

In the audience at the Chamber luncheon, there were comments mostly favorable, such as from Mike Wilson and Thomas Parent, who were on the bond committee.

ZXP president James Taylor cautioned on how the district spends this money, urging more on security and less on athletics. He said the bonds would have a major impact on his company’s tax obligation, but said nevertheless he was neutral in his judgement of the merits.

Woods said that the last day to register to vote in this election would be April 4. Early voting will start on April 22, through April 30. Alection Day is Saturday, May 4th. Polling locations for residents of Harris County will include the Harris County Law Library, and the Baytown Community Center.

Also for Chambers County, voting locations will be the GCCISD Administration Building, and the Chambers County Community Center Bayou Annex.

Additional information on the bond referendum is available at GCCISD.NET, and GCbond2019.com.