HALLSVILLE, Texas — Hallsville ISD trustees on Friday discussed the possible exclusion of certain aspects of the proposed bond after hearing from community members and bond steering committee members, while also looking to adopt a proposed surplus budget for the 2019-20 school year.
The Hallsville ISD trustees are set to meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday to host a public hearing and vote on adding a proposed $55 million bond to the upcoming November ballot.
The board is also set to host a public hearing on a proposed budget for the 2019-20 school year before placing their votes.
The monthly 6:30 p.m. regular meeting will follow the public hearing on Monday.
On Thursday, the district hosted its final community input public meeting about the proposed bond and on Friday, the trustees met to discuss details of the bond and hear from some of the more than 50 bond steering committee members.
The main issue at the heart of the bond seemed to be deciding if the trustees wanted to chance leaving about a $2.4 million UIL facilities line item in the bond proposal, or remove that part and seek about a $53 million bond and use fund balance monies to turf the baseball/softball fields and update the football stadium’s field house.
The turf project would cost about $1.8 million, leaving about $500,000 to provide updates to the flooring and bathrooms of the field house. The field house’s roof would be fixed in another line item of the bond proposal.
Shortly after hearing from committee members, who insisted community members expressed a desire for the turf at the baseball/softball complex to be added to the bond, Hallsville ISD Interim Chief Financial Officer Mary Brown revealed to the board that the district is looking to have about $6.3 million above the required minimum in their fund balance after adopting the proposed 2019-20 school year budget next week.
The monies above the required minimum in fund balance could allow trustees to turf the baseball/softball complex out of fund balance money, leaving the bond proposal to mostly include maintenance and update needs across the district.
Hallsville ISD’s Bond Attorney Rudy Segura also informed trustees they could choose to offer voters two separate propositions of about a $53 million bond proposal for a new West Elementary School, new buses, maintenance needs across the district, parking lot renovations, HVAC repairs, roof repairs at Hallsville East Elementary School, Hallsville Junior High School renovations and a new Hallsville High School auditorium.
A second proposition could then be put on the ballot for the $2.4 million in UIL facilities updates, which would include the turf at the baseball/softball complex and renovations at the field house.
The total proposed bond amount as it sits now would be about $54.9 million, not to exceed $55 million, and would include about $29.7 million for a new “West” elementary school campus on land the district already owns near Page Road and Loop 281 in the Longview city limits but Hallsville ISD district.
Trustees are set to vote on their decision on Monday.
Thanks to an influx of state funding to school districts as part of the recently passed Texas House Bill 3, Hallsville ISD tax payers will see a $0.07 decrease per $100 home valuation in their tax rate, whether the bond passes on Nov. 5 or not.
The district will see its maintenance and operations tax rate reduced from $1.04 to $0.97. The district’s interest and sinking (debt) tax rate will remain steady at $0.33, making a total $1.30 tax rate, down from $1.37 last year, per $100 of home value.
The trustees will also look at adopting about a $916,000 surplus budget for the 2019-20 school year on Monday.
The budget includes about $1.4 million in one time costs, including about $800,000 to re-turf Bobcat Stadium and the track around it, as well as about $100,000 for the creation of two new maintenance positions.
The two new maintenance positions are in anticipation of the new elementary campus, if the bond is approved in November.
The proposed budget also includes about $400,000 for four new school buses and teacher and staff pay increases that were approved by the board in July.