The Huffman ISD trustees have called for a bond election May 7 that would fund nine major projects including high school and middle school renovations, purchase six new buses, and upgrade the baseball and softball turf.
The first proposition totals $98.9 million for facility improvements while a second proposition, totaling $2.9 million, would upgrade the baseball/softball turf, according to information provided by Kristen Breaux, district public information officer.
The website states that the last comprehensive facilities study was six years ago and outlines how passing the bond issues will affect current tax rates:
“The proposed Huffman ISD 2022 Bond will increase homeowners’ property tax rates by 10.8 cents per $100 eligible property valuation. For a homeowner with property valuation of $100,000, this would equate to $5.41/month. If the bond passes in May 2022, the new overall tax rate would still be below the average of surrounding districts.”
The website assured voters 65 and older that the 2022 Bond “ … would not increase above your current exemption ceiling …”
The first bond, if approved by voters, would provide:
At Hargrave High School, renovations and expansions including 20 additional classrooms, the HVAC system, roof, gym, auditorium and the District Alternative Education Program at a cost of $57.3 million.
At Huffman Middle School, 15 additional classrooms, cafeteria expansion, and agriculture and field house renovations at a cost of $17.3 million.
Major maintenance projects totaling $5.6 million.
Safety and security improvements covering cameras, lighting, alarms, doors, controls, roads and traffic flow for $4 million.
Operations Center which will house maintenance, custodial, transportation and child nutrition departments totaling $15.7 million.
Purchase of six buses totaling $660,000.
Purchase of 131 acres and additional sites for $5.6 million.
Technology improvements and purchases to include Wi-Fi improvements, classroom technology and data center upgrades for $1.8 million.
This first bond proposal also includes a $9 million reimbursement from FEMA that would reduce the proposal to a total estimated cost of $98.9 million.
The second bond, if approved by voters, would upgrade the baseball/softball turf at the Al Spangler Baseball Field and the Lady Falcon Softball Field at a cost of $2.9 million.
In previous bond elections, school districts could propose one proposition covering everything a district would like to include, but last session’s legislature passed legislation that now requires a district to break out those projects.
Huffman ISD now must propose one bond for projects such as school buildings, administrative items and equipment. The athletic venue improvements must be voted on in a separate bond issue.
Legislation also was passed last session that requires all districts to include language calling the bond proposals a tax increase since the Legislature says any bond supported by ad valorem taxes will affect a homeowner’s ad valorem taxes.
A 35-member Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) was organized by the district “ … to study existing facilities and develop a plan to provide facilities that will meet the needs of all students and provide support for the teaching and learning process,” according to the district’s Bond 2022 website.
The CAC included community leaders, parents, teachers and district leadership team members. After gathering their information, the CAC presented their recommendations to the trustees Feb. 3. The trustees approved them and unanimously called for the bond election.
In praising the work of the committee, Superintendent Dr. Benny Soileau wrote The Tribune, “Our Citizens Advisory Committee worked diligently for six months to identify the necessary improvements to present to our board of trustees who unanimously approved the slate of projects.”
The last day to register to vote is April 7. Early voting is April 25-May 3. Polls are closed Sunday. Election Day is May 7.