CCCCSD School Board hears high school bond options, public meeting Monday, July 8

The CCCCSD School Board heard options on bond amounts and tax rates for the Ozona High School Building Project at a special meeting Monday, July 1.

In the presentations, Steve Gallagher, of Gallagher Construction, showed the board that the difference of renovating the OHS Main Building and tearing it down was about $.8 million.

With a new roof, complete renovation of the inside of the main building, plus building a new building in between the main building and Heritage Building, cost will be $34.1 million. This also includes tearing down the OHS Cafeteria to make room for parking, as well as tearing down the Administration Building and moving those offices to the library building, or to the Heritage Building. A new Career and Technology Education Building would also be added, and the band hall moved next to the auditorium.

In the second option, everything would be the same in option 1, except for demolishing the OHS Main Building, preserve some of the elements and incorporate them into the academic building. Cost would be $33.3 million.

Both options include keeping the auditorium building and renovating the inside of the auditorium. The renovation would include bringing the stage area up to UIL standards.

“It is more cost effective to not have the main building, but in some communities it does not matter,” Gallaher said.

“That building is not something people want to save, they want to save the auditorium,” added Board President Dwight Childress.

Christian Merritt, with Live Oak Public Finance in Austin, explained the tax rates if the board decided to call a $35 million or $40 million bond.

Merritt said at their peak the three windfarms that are coming into Crockett County will add an additional billion dollars to the school district’s total valuations. With that, the tax increase on $35 million will be $.015 and $40 million will be $.035.

Now, if the windfarms only come in at 75 percent, Merritt said the rate would be $.03 for $35 million and $.05 for $40 million.

Bond tax rates are called interest and sinking, and they are not subject to recapture.

However, with the state requiring the school district to lower their maintenance and operations tax rate by 6-7 cents, the overall rate with the high school bond would be less than the current rate, Merritt said.

Currently the school district’s total tax rate is $1.20. With the district lowering the maintenance and operations tax rate, and if a $35 million bond is approved, the total rate would be around $1.16.

Merritt said the state will still require that the wording on the ballot state that the bond would increase taxes, even if that doesn’t happen.

“Education will be a big part of this. We’ve got to be able to explain to the average person,” Merritt said.

Superintendent Raul Chavarria said if the board decides on $35 million the district could fix all roofs needing repair.

“The time you want to do this is this year,” Merritt said.

Merritt also said if a bond is passed the district has 10 years to spend the money.

Gallagher said the project would take two years to complete.

“If ever we can afford it, we need to do it now. It’s perfect timing,” Childress added.

Board Member Roland DeHoyos also brought up renovating the girls’ field house at Lion Stadium, a project that has continuously been placed on the back burner.

“We have to do something to that field house with the situation we are in. I don’t want people coming to me and bringing this up,” DeHoyos said.

Chavarria said when the $5 million bond was passed in 2017 there was construction in the wording. At this point, the district still doesn’t know how House Bill 3, passed by the State Legislature on school funding, will affect the district.

So far $1.4 million of the $5 million has been spent. Chavarria said if the state funding comes out where the district can balance the budget this year, then district officials and the board could consider using the rest of the money on the girls’ field house.

“We don’t want to come back in a few years and try to pass another bond,” said Board Member Travis Davidson.

The board has a deadline of Aug. 19 to call a bond.

All this information will be presented at the OHS Building Committee Meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, July 8, at the OHS Cafeteria. The meeting is open to the public.

THE BOARD ALSO:

Accepted the retirement of OES Assistant Principal Vicky Munoz and OMS Teacher Chapman Traylor.

Reviewed and accepted the the bid from Texas Kids First as the student insurance carrier.

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