The goal of our upcoming bond is to provide safety and security capital improvements to our schools.
With that in mind, the board began looking at the 2010 Master plan in the fall of 2018. We reviewed teacher and community input on campus facility inventories, and began with those areas that were not able to be included in the last bond.
Our plan is to build on those evaluations and form campus-planning committees to develop an implementation plan to create controlled secure entry points to our campuses.
The Elementary project will include a new entrance with a secure entry point with an administration area to meet our visitors and an eleven-classroom wing. These classrooms will allow for the removal of the portable building. It will also create a new pick up and drop off for the elementary to help with the congestion on Warhorse drive. A new gym would also be included to help keep our students centrally located. As mentioned in last week’s article the gym will not have the size capacity to host the kinder promotion, however we are still meeting with the architects on the size of the gym.
At the Intermediate school, a secure entry point at the current entrance will be renovated for all visitors to the school. All secure entry points will include impact resistant material. The new classrooms at the elementary will allow freeing up some classrooms at the Intermediate as well as open up scheduling times at both campuses since students will no longer have to share the gym.
Our middle school athletic program has increased in number of students and the need for additional locker room space will be addressed by adding on to the existing dressing rooms. The secure entry point at this school will be addressed this year with the district’s fund balance. The board appropriated approximately $200,000.00 in fencing for all campuses and $200,000.00 for a secured entry point at the Middle School. The current configuration for entry already provided means for minimal construction, which would not cause major renovation or relocation of existing structure.
The work at the high school will include a secure entry point to be located in the former high school cafeteria. This space will include administrative offices to allow meeting visitors, which they are unable to do at their current location. A new elevator will be provided in this area as required for ADA requirements. There is still discussion as to who will occupy these offices. The athletic director’s office will be in this area to free up a classroom space where they are currently located. The existing transaction window once used as a concession stand will be utilized to sell athletic event tickets. A clarification from last week’s article is that this is not a drive up window; patrons will have to park and walk up to the window. We are evaluating and considering changes to the pickup and drop off routes to help traffic patterns for better entrance and exit routes.
The existing weight room in the former cafeteria space will need to be relocated and current discussion is to consider an addition to the existing weight room to house this equipment.
The addition of eight tennis courts is the final portion of the bond. There is still discussion on the location of these and the best use of current facilities to assist in rest room access as well as storage and parking.
The first draft was presented at the February 25th board meeting and campus committees will continue to meet with the architects to review and look at the best options for the projects.
A school district’s property tax rate consists of two rates: an M&O rate (Maintenance & Operations) and an I&S rate (Interest & Sinking). The M&O rate is where our local share of revenue comes from to pay for daily operating expenses like payroll and utilities. The I&S rate produces our local revenue that only pays for previously approved bond payments.
Our current tax rate for Devine ISD is $ 1.335: the M&O rate is $1.17 and this year we lowered our I&S rate from .20 to .165. The I&S rate is approximately 12% of the total tax rate.
The proposed bond would not affect the M&O rate at $1.17. That rate would remain the same. The proposed bond would increase our I&S rate. The chart on top right details the potential increase each year as well as the decrease when EDA (Existing Debt Allotment) in 2022:
By Scott Sostarich
Devine ISD Superintendent