By ZEINAB NAJM
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR — The Taylor School District Board of Education approved the ballot language for a $130 million bond to be placed on the November general election ballot which would provide upgrades to all school buildings.
Residents will be asked to consider the renewal of the current 0.96 mills with an additional 2.68 mill increase to equal a total of 3.64 mills.
If approved, the money generated would result in improvements to address infrastructure upgrades and provide modern learning environments for all students with the goal of increasing opportunities and enhancing performance, a bond proposal FAQ said.
The bond proposal includes the design and construction of a new high school and career center built together on the existing John F. Kennedy High School site. A new 220,000-square-foot high school would cost $66 million while a new 50,000-square-foot career center would cost $15 million.
The demolition of the existing Kennedy building and relocation of the board of education offices to the annex building are also planned in the proposal.
Middle school students would move into the current Taylor High School which will receive upgrades.
Other projects include, renting a new high school building and career center building which will include athletic fields and parking lots; erecting additions to and remodeling of the current high school for conversion to a middle school; remodeling, equipping, re-equipping, furnishing school buildings; athletic and play fields and other facilities to create a modern learning environment for students, for safety and security and other purposes; acquiring and installing instructional technology infrastructure and equipment in school buildings and other facilities; and preparing, developing and improving sites at school buildings, athletic, play fields and other facilities.
The TMP Architecture team worked with the Taylor Schools Facilities and Operations Department to put together a facility assessment which evaluated the infrastructure conditions of the buildings.
A bond steering committee made up of 20 community members, board trustees, parents and staff is developing a bond program recommendation at the end of its analysis process for board’s consideration.
Administration from the district engaged a focus group which was composed of an additional diverse group of residents that included election officials, organization leaders, parents, and community members. The group would allow the district to evaluate the proposed ideas of the bond steering committee and to offer more community engagement in the process.
On June 16, the bond steering committee presented its findings and recommendation of the board which unanimously approved the ballot proposal.
The district has had bonds that have passed and failed over the years, including in 1969 with a passed bond of $17 million; a failed bond of $25 million in 1976, $89.5 million in 1995, $200 million over two bonds in 2003; another failed bond of $70.5 million in 2004 and a five-year improvements bond of $5.9 million in 2016.
The district enrollment is 5,580 students which is projected to decrease to 4,883 by 2025-26 school year. The district has 12 school buildings, one administration building and one career center.
For more information on the bond proposal, click here.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)