Joshua, Alvarado ISDs call for bond elections

·4 min read

Feb. 18—Citing their city's rapid growth and a need for facility upgrades and expansion, two local school districts this week called for a bond election.

Joshua ISD is seeking $97.5 million while Alvarado ISD is asking for $125. Both will be on the May ballot.

Alvarado's bond will be split into two propositions.

Proposition A is for $107,450,000 and projects include:

—New Alvarado Elementary North

—Expand Lillian Elementary School

—Convert Alvarado Intermediate School to Alvarado Elementary South and address aging needs

—New Alvarado High School competition gym

Proposition B is for renovations to the Alvarado High School baseball and softball field for $17,550,000.

The bond is part of a district master facility plan that has been developed over the span of several years.

Growth projections estimate the district will grow 23% in the next five years, adding around 900 students. As a district, we will exceed the combined capacity of all elementary campuses by 2025-26 and exceed the combined capacity of all campuses by 2026-27.

The Facility Steering Committee recommended the bond to the board. Projects from the 2019 bond began a process of grade realignment across the district, and this bond would complete that long-term grade realignment, with pre-kindergarten through fifth grade elementary schools, a sixth- through eighth-grade junior high school, and a ninth- through 12th-grade high school. This will mean fewer changes and transitions for students and greater operational efficiency and cost savings for the district.

"We appreciate the hard work of the Facilities Steering Committee members," Superintendent Kenneth Estes said. "They spent a considerable amount of time studying the needs of our district and factors that would impact a facility recommendation. In the end, the committee developed a comprehensive and mixed approach to address current and future challenges. We are thankful for their service and look forward to discussing and considering their recommendation."

Compared to the 2020-2021 overall tax rate, the district's tax rate has decreased 9 cents, and will not increase as a result of this bond election, remaining at a tax rate of $1.37 per $100 of taxable property value.

Joshua

Joshua's bond will have two propositions for voters to decide.

Proposition A — $84,650,000 — will include:

—New 92,500-square-foot elementary school: $37,572,000

—Addition to Nichols Middle School: $6,286,000

—Technology allowance: $700,000

—Career & Technical Education Program/High School Expansion (26,000 square-foot renovation, 31,000 addition): $24,839,000

—Property acquisition allowance: $1,000,000

—Fire alarm replacement allowance: $3,000,000

—Secured vestibule at Elder Elementary School: $350,000

—Electrical upgrades allowance: $1,500,000

—Kitchen and cafeteria updates: $2,900,000

—Fine Arts storage (band hall and theatre): $1,256,000

—A/C unit and roof replacements/paving improvements: $2,050,000

—Upgrade district fuel station: $1,500,000

—Joshua High School North Gym locker room and other gym renovations: $1,697,000

Proposition B — $12,850,000 — will cover a 41,000-square-foot addition to the Multi-Purpose Athletic Complex.

A bond steering committee of 52 parents, teachers, community members, employees and business leaders recommended the bond after meeting several months to study growth and demographics and tour the facilities.

"I want to thank the committee for their time these last few months," Board President Ronnie Galbreath said. "We truly appreciate their dedication and efforts in helping review the data and bringing this recommendation to us."

JISD is projected to add nearly 2,000 students in the next 10 years. There are 22 actively building subdivisions and 17 future subdivisions in the planning stages.

The district has not called for a bond since 2015 and has decreased its tax rate by 31 cents since 2017. JISD also has the third-lowest tax rate in Johnson County and the lowest among the three largest districts.

The district's current total tax rate is $1.29, with Maintenance and Operations at 96 cents, and Interest and Sinking rate of 33 cents per $100 home valuation.

Under the proposed bond, the I&S rate would increase to 47 cents for a total rate of $1.43, less than the rates in 2017-19. The monthly projected tax would increase to $11.69 per $100,000 of taxable value, and the projected annual tax increase would be $140.28 per $100,000 of taxable value.

"The fast-paced growth of our district that includes mostly rooftops, means that kids are coming," Committee Co-Chair Julie Pool said. "Joshua ISD, in order to maintain the academic excellence it is known for, has put together a pretty fiscally conservative strategic plan to give that continued excellence to our students. The needs that are addressed in this bond show the diversity of students these funds will reach across the district."

For information, visit joshuaisd.org/bond2022.

The deadline to register to vote is April 7. Early voting is April 25 through May 3, and Election Day is May 7.