The Texas City Independent School District will hold community meetings later this month about a proposed $136.1 million bond proposition, that if approved, would pay to replace aging buildings in La Marque and Texas City, among other improvements.
The proposed bond would include funding for four new replacement schools after three aging La Marque campuses were badly damaged during Hurricane Harvey, officials said.
If approved, the bond initiative in a May referendum, it would increase the school district tax rate by about 8 cents per $100 valuation, according to the district. This increase would translate to about $80 more annually in school district property taxes on a home valued at $100,000, according to the district.
Public meetings will be held at 6 p.m. March 19 at Carver Community Center, 6615 Park Ave., and at 6 p.m. March 21 at the Charles T. Doyle Convention Center, 2010 Fifth Ave. N., district spokeswoman Melissa Tortorici said.
The goal of the meetings will be to hear from the public and present all facts about the proposed bond, she said.
“In the meantime, we have a website and we have a list of frequently asked questions there,” she said. “Anyone can call my office anytime or send any emails.”
The bond is a necessity for the Texas City community, Texas City resident Mark Ciavaglia said.
“There were over 70 community members that got together and looked at the district’s facilities,” he said. “Do we have the facilities for our students today and in five years from now? The conclusion we reached is that we have some work to do.”
The bulk of the bond would help the campuses that are more than six decades old and need drastic repair, Ciavaglia said.
“It’s hard to keep 60-year-old buildings in good shape,” he said. “The physical facilities are not best suited for the best education practices. These four schools need to be replaced with new campuses.”
The bond would raise taxes but it’s a necessary sacrifice for the students in the district, Ciavaglia said.
“I realize that going to the voters and asking for a bond causes a tax increase,” he said. “It’s always difficult, but in this instance, there’s really no good alternative. This is an opportunity for the community to really put its hands on the school district.”
However, the increase to the community’s taxes is a burden that residents should not have to bear the weight of, La Marque resident Bruce Luerson said.
“They want to float a million dollar bond that won’t be paid off until 2050 or later,” he said. “That’s just ridiculous. The administration should say no. People do not realize how much money they’re paying out.”
If the bond passes, Texas City’s it would provide a more stable environment for students, Ciavaglia said.
“We do that by giving our students the facilities they deserve,” he said. “We give facilities to the teachers that they need to fulfill their mission. If there was a fiscal alternative I’d be in support of it, but as part of the group that looked at these facilities, we couldn’t find an alternative that made sense.”