Cumby Independent School District Board of Trustees are expected to meet for three different sessions on Thursday. During on, the school board is expected to call for a bond election to fund facilities improvements.
Trustees, during a community meeting at the school, explained that the district had ordered a facilities inventory and evaluation in 2017, which identified several areas for improvement. A facilities committee of 10 was formed to determine how best to meet district needs and what would be required to fund them. Wants and needs were assessed, with creation of a 20-35 year district facilities plan as the goal.
After considering many different plans proposed, trustees and school administrators feel they have one for the first phase of improvement. To fund the improvements, however, would necessitate calling for a November bond election, which, if funded entirely, would cost an estimated $6,205,920.
The plan, Option 4, would allow the elementary campus to be more secure. That would include an 11,200-square foot elementary addition with eight classrooms at the end of the existing elementary building, drainage improvements and cafeteria expansion behind the elementary. A new playground would be enclosed behind the expanded cafeteria.
“Safety and security are our number one focus, and then we’ll see what there is left for other things,” Cumby ISD Superintendent Shelly Slaughter told the gathering of about 3 dozen community, staff and administrators present at the community meeting.
Additional parking and drives, sidewalks and canopies would be included in the costs as would secure entry points.
The overall improvements planned the elementary are estimated to be $4.01 million.
A new metal shop for vocational technology and career and technology classes would accommodate changes in education to provide more students with opportunities for more industry certifications and as many college and career credits as possible. That is estimated at $480,000
Portable buildings, which are designed to last up to 10 years but have been on the campus since 2001, would be demolished and needed abatement performed at a cost of $150,000. To maintain the buildings would be a significant cost, as repairs are needed for stability, security and functionality, presenters noted.
This too will provide added safety as it means the students aren’t required to be in the open walking to and from classes. Currently, if a fire or tornado drill is held, the only way they know is through intercom or someone physically coming to the campus to notify them. In the event of a tornado, the students have to exit the portable buildings to walk to the safety of the main building. In the event of a real tornado, that would be a serious threat to the children’s safety as they’d be out in the elements, school and planning officials noted at the Aug. 8 community meeting.
Because these improvements would be on the current football field, the field would need to be relocated; it’d be moved west of the current school facilities. It would have a dirt track around it, which would keep students on the school grounds as opposed to running along the roadside in town, which some citizens had expressed concern about. The estimate to relocate the stadium is estimated at $900,000. A paved track is not included at this time due to the significant cost.
One community member asked why, with property values on tax roles going up, wasn’t more funding available to help with some of the projects without having to seek a bond. School officials explained that with changes in House Bill 3 going into effect this year, the amount the district receives from school taxes would actually go down.
The board was also asked if they’d considered moving the elementary students to the new high school building, then building an all new high school or junior high. Official explained that it would take more money than the proposed bond to convert the high school for elementary students and build a new high school. Moving elementary to high school would also still leave the students without a closed, secured play area outside, and would still require them to walk across campus to the cafeteria. Both are security and safety issues the proposed plan address.
The school board is slated to hold a work session at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, in the Meeting Room of the Administration Building. They also may talk during executive session about facilities, student discipline and personnel, before adjourning.
At 7 p.m. Aug. 15, Cumby ISD Board of Trustees will hold a special public meeting in the Board Room/high school library to discuss the proposed budget and tax rate before adjourning.
Then, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, the CISD trustees will hold their regular meeting. The agenda includes a time for awards and recognition if any are notable, administrative reports from the various department heads and Texas Association of School Boards Update 113. An executive session is noted for facilities, student discipline and personnel matters. To be presented for board approval are the 2019-20 budget and tax rate, and an order calling for a bond election, discussion on master facilities planning, a board policy regarding addressing board on agenda items, Lone Star Governance updates and board training hours review.