At the polls in May, the overwhelming approval of a $175 million school bond package for the Boerne Independent School District sent a clear message about how deeply the community values public education, especially during challenging times of continued growth.
The bond package will address growing enrollment and future capacity issues, alleviate current overcrowding and support evolving student programs. The package, which passed by a margin of 73 percent to 27 percent, will fund construction for three new schools — two elementary and one middle — along with expansions at existing secondary schools.
“We are gratified by these results and pledge to be excellent stewards of the resources and trust placed in us by the voters of the district,” said David Stelmazewski, BISD superintendent. “In my conversations with folks leading up to this election, I consistently encouraged them to become informed and to vote. I thank them for doing both.”
The new schools and expansions are in response to enrollment growth projections that forecast more than 4,400 new students in the district by 2026. Current enrollment is just over 7,900.
This rapid growth means that work will begin almost immediately on the new facilities, as well as implementing expansions and upgrades to make the best use of existing facilities. Work on the new 20-acre site of elementary school #6 on Dietz-Elkhorn is underway, with a projected August 2018 opening. An additional elementary school is planned for the new Esperanza subdivision east of Boerne on Highway 46. The district’s third middle school will be on a site and schedule to be determined.
Fabra Elementary’s relocation into their new home leaves their old site ready to be converted into BISD’s administrative center and an expanded home for the alternative school. “Repurposing the old campus is a tremendously efficient and effective way to create a central services center that will serve the district for decades,” said Stelmazewski.
The bond passage is the culmination of the efforts of the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee initiated in the fall of 2015, consisting of more than 60 parents, business leaders, teachers, district administrators, civic leaders and students to review and prioritize district needs, equipment and educational programs. The committee was charged with studying enrollment growth trends, reviewing facilities usage and developing a set of recommendations to guide the board.
During the summer, Stelmazewski will be working with the Board of Trustees to appoint an oversight committee on the new bond expenditures and activities that will hold the district accountable for effective and efficient use of bond finances. “Just as in the 2013 bond, this citizens’ committee will serve as the eyes and ears of the public as the district executes the approved bond projects in an atmosphere of transparency and accountability.”
Soon after the start of the 2016-17 school year, a committee will be formed to make recommendations on the important process of rezoning, using the same resource who provided the analysis on enrollment growth that informed the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee. “We want to establish new attendance zones that will serve our families for many years into the future,” said Stelmazewski.
“Boerne, Fair Oaks Ranch and our surrounding neighborhoods place great value on public education,” he added. “That is the reason Boerne ISD is known as a ‘destination district’ for so many families. This day marks the beginning of the next chapter in our collective efforts to serve those families by providing excellence in education for our students.”
History, background, tax information, demographic summary, project breakdown, FAQs and more are outlined on the Boerne ISD Bond Election website, boerneisdbond.com. The following is just a glimpse at what’s new and what’s next for the district.
• Construction of three new schools: Elementary #6 (Dietz-Elkhorn adjacent to Fair Oaks Ranch); Elementary #7 (Esperanza subdivision off Hwy 46 East); Middle School #3 (site TBD).
• Sports facilities upgrades including new tennis courts, weight room and locker room upgrades at Boerne High School; and installation of artificial turf at Champion High School sub-varsity football field to increase player safety, reduce maintenance costs and allow for year-round use.
• Purchase of new buses and transportation vehicles to replace aging equipment and accommodate enrollment growth.
• Additional security systems, communications equipment for transportation and emergency management operations.
• Repairs and additions to parking lots, drives and pedestrian walkways, and upgraded fire lanes.
• Playground equipment upgrades to meet current safety standards.
• District-wide improvements include wireless internet capability upgrades, improved network operations, relocation of data center and equipment replacement; repairs and replacement of roofing, HVAC and Energy Management systems, lighting and flooring; kitchen upgrades and equipment replacement.
For more information, visit boerneisdbond.com.