Galveston Independent School District’s board of trustees Wednesday officially called for a $31 million bond referendum.
“The citizens advisory committee’s work is just beginning,” Galveston ISD board President Matthew Hay said.
The $31 million May bond referendum would pay for immediate repairs at district facilities made necessary by deferred maintenance and would only increase the district’s debt cycle by one year, according to a presentation.
The May bond would not include a tax increase, officials said.
While district officials begin preparing for the May bond election, the district’s facilities advisory committee will begin a deeper dive into long-term needs, officials said.
District officials have discussed the possibility of a larger bond issue in November.
District officials have said the staggered bond elections are necessary because they don’t have time to prepare a comprehensive examination of long-term needs before the Feb. 16 deadline to call a May vote.
“Step 2 of this will be to create a plan to see how we can maximize the money we are spending,” said Abel Longoria, a member of the advisory committee.
The first part of the next phase will be to approve a group to conduct a full facilities and demographic study, Superintendent Kelli Moulton said.
An official proposal should be ready to go out to bid by the board’s next meeting, Hay said.
Trustees voted 5-0 Wednesday to approve calling for the first bond attempt since 2010, when voters shot down a $35 million referendum that would have included a sports complex to replace Kermit Courville Stadium.
The last successful district bond election was in 2003 for $69.45 million to renovate and modernize school facilities.
District officials and trustees have been mulling a bond election since learning the severity of problems caused by deferred maintenance at school buildings and that it would cost an estimated $65.1 million to correct the high priority needs, district officials said.
Trustee Anthony Brown said he hoped a demographic and facilities study would consider whether the district should keep all of its facilities.
Trustee Johnny Smecca then agreed that some facilities weren’t being used as much as they could be, but said he didn’t want district officials to sell property for cheap prices when they might also save money by just reconfiguring property.
“But I’m feeling good,” Smecca said. “I feel like Hay and I are doing a lot of the things we campaigned on.”