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GISD Board of Trustees vote to put bond on May ballot

Galveston school board votes to put $218 million bond on May ballot

GALVESTON

Galveston Independent School District’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday voted unanimously to put three propositions totaling $218.7 million in bond funding on a May ballot, at a cost to taxpayers of a little more than an 11-cent tax rate increase.

The three propositions include one to build a new Ball High School with some additional costs that will pay for new LED lighting at Spoor Field and Tor softball and baseball fields, as well as outfield turf at the two ball fields. The Ball High proposition, including work on the campus athletic fields, costs a total of $187 million.

 

A second proposition will ask taxpayers to approve $19.4 million to build a new indoor swimming pool complex, or natatorium, at the new high school to replace a 66-year-old pool.

A third proposition will make way for renovations at Kermit Courville Stadium, 1307 27th St., including new bleachers, a new artificial turf playing surface and replacement of all locker room buildings with a new fieldhouse/concession building that includes restrooms and team dressing rooms at a cost of $11.1 million.

The board’s decision to call a bond election represents the work of many Galveston residents and district employees who participated for a year in a comprehensive review of district facilities and initially gave the board a report suggesting the district needed $450 million in facilities improvements.

 

That recommendation was reconsidered and the Champion Advisory Committee, in discussions with administration and board members, ultimately decided to focus first on the need for a new Ball High School, to be built across the street at the site of the former Scott Elementary School, 4116 Ave. N 1/2 and extending across Avenue O to the site of the existing high school building, 4115 Ave. O. If the referendum for a new high school passes, a bridge will be built across Avenue O connecting the two parts of the Ball High School campus.

“Ball High School is the one school that all children in the Galveston Independent School District will eventually pass through,” said Dr. Matthew Hay, board member. “That’s why it became the focal point.”

Many weeks of meetings and discussion resulted in whittling down an original estimate by architectural design firm PBK of Houston that would have cost as much as $248 million, not including any work at Courville.

The tax impact if all three propositions pass will be an estimated $166 per year maximum increase on an average appraised home value of $221,808, adjusted for state and local homestead exemptions to a taxable value of $152,446, according to a preliminary tax rate analysis by U.S. Capital Advisors. That estimate assumes a 3.125 percent interest rate and 25 years amortization.

The district holds $5.4 million in its I&S tax fund, all of which could be applied to paying the debt service, said Lewis Wilks of U.S. Capital, adding that money cannot be used for any other purpose.

A homeowner’s total school district tax bill on a home with an adjusted taxable value of $152,446, will be $1,820 per year, representing an increase of $13.84 a month or $166 a year. That includes maintenance and operations taxes of 99 cents per $100 valuation and service on the debt or I&S taxes of 20 cents per $100.

 
 

Kathryn Eastburn: 409-683-5257; kathryn.eastburn@galvnews.com.