Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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Sharyland voters approve bond

MISSION —Voters approved the Sharyland Independent School District bond election to raise taxes to pay for a second high school in the district Tuesday.

Nearly 1,000 Sharyland voters turned out to vote for the bond. Of those, 70 percent of the voters approved the bond that will help the school district build a second high school on 6 ½ Mile Line and Shary Road.

The new high school is projected to cost the district $55 million. Taxes could rise by as much as $0.097 cents, making the total tax rate for SISD $1.297 per $100 valuation. District residents with a home valued at $100,000 could see their taxes go up by as much as $97; or with a home valued at $200,000, taxes could go up by $194.

Superintendent Scott Owings was happy with the turnout despite low numbers.

“I think ours was a good turnout comparative to everyone else’s,” said Owings, adding that for not having other political items on the ballot, it was a decent turn out for the district.

Eddie Montalvo, chairperson for the community advisory committee that proposed the bond election to the school district, said it would have been nice to see a better turnout, but felt there was enough and the outcome would have been the same.

Owings said he is prepared to address the next steps for the high school construction, but have been like race horses “holding back at the starting gate” to see if the community would pass the bond.

Meetings have already been held with Texas Department of Transportation, the water district, and other entities that are going to be dealt with in building a school at the location.

“Now we can give the full go ahead to our architect to move forward with the more detailed plans,” he said.

Owings said they want to sell the bonds a little quicker than originally anticipated because of favorable interest rates. The school district had originally set a date to sell the bonds in February, but might sell them before the end of December. The sale of the bonds, and whether they will be divided up with a big company and some local banks, will be discussed in a future business operations and finance meeting. Owings added that there has been interest of local people wanting to invest in the bonds.

Right now, the new high school does have a mascot, the Diamondbacks, but colors and a name for the high school are still to be discussed. The district had chosen Diamondbacks because Sharyland North Junior High School, also Diamondbacks, will be feeding into the new high school.

Owings said bids and other items will follow after the bonds are sold and a definite building plan is agreed on by the school board. With a building this big, not just local contractors will be attracted to it.

Owings is looking forward to a groundbreaking either late spring or early summer. This will give them a full two years to get the high school completed.

“Everybody that lives here is responsible for it,” said Montalvo. “They made it happen. They proved they cared.”

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