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Sulphur Springs ISD Trustees Call May Bond Election To Address School Facilities

 

At Monday night’s school board meeting, Sulphur Springs ISD trustees voted unanimously to call a $157,150,000 bond election on the Saturday, May 4 ballot. Registered voters residing within the Sulphur Springs ISD boundaries will decide on a bond referendum to generate funding to construct two new elementary schools, renovate three campuses, and purchase land for one of the new schools. This proposal is part of the district’s long-range vision to align grades K-5, update facilities, and replace schools once they are beyond their useful life.

The SSISD Bond Planning Committee recommended the projects in the May 2024 bond following months of evaluation and prioritization. After hearing the Committee’s recommendation, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to call for this bond.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, thank you to the Bond Planning Committee who brought forth a plan to address the spaces where our students and staff spend much of their day. We hope that residents will take the time to learn more about the Committee’s work and make an informed decision in May,” said Craig Roberts, President of the Board of Trustees.

The Sulphur Springs ISD proposition includes:

  • New Elementary School #1 (K-5) 
    • This new school would replace Sulphur Springs Elementary School, which is currently grades 4-5.
  • New Elementary School #2 (K-5) 
    • We would construct the new school on a new site named Rowena Johnson Elementary.
  • Land Purchase 
    • SSISD would acquire land to construct the new Rowena Johnson Elementary.
  • Renovations to Bush
      • The campus renovations would include adding a new playground, updates to floors, walls, ceilings, lighting, site accessibility improvements, and some new classroom furniture. 
    • The school would serve students in grades K-5 in the future.
  • Renovations to Douglass Early Childhood Learning Center
      • The campus renovations would include updates to floors, walls, ceilings, and lighting; site accessibility improvements; brick and masonry repair; and the repair and replacement of exterior windows.  
    • The school would continue to serve early childhood students. 
  • Updates at Bowie 
    • The renovations include converting the building into offices for use by exceptional program staff, which could include updates to finishes such as flooring, painting, and lighting. 

“I am very proud of our community and how the citizens on the Bond Planning Committee came together to develop a plan for our future,” said Dr. Deana Steeber, superintendent of schools. “After studying our district goals, financial outlook, and some options to address conditions at buildings up to 70 years old, committee members brainstormed solutions and ultimately recommended the plan to build two new schools now. Their commitment to the process and our district’s future was remarkable.”

Dr. Steeber explains that this plan will allow SSISD to impact more than 2,100 students in grades PreK-5. “That’s about half of our student enrollment,” she said, “and it will create K-5 elementary schools, which research shows is better for young students.”

The 2024 bond proposal also will allow the district to retire three schools that are 58, 65, and 70 years old. “These campuses have become more costly to maintain; we’ve had several instances of moving students out of their classrooms and into other locations,” Dr. Steeber says. “I’m very grateful to community partners like Sulphur Springs First Baptist Church who have opened their doors when our schools were unusable, but I prefer for our students to be able to stay at their home campus in spaces designed for them. Our new schools would include safety features and modern classroom tools that are now standard.”

Based on Taxable Assessed Values and paying off previous debt early, SSISD can issue the bonds with a ¼ penny increase per $100 of property valuation. For a home valued at $150,000 – and then subtracting the new $100,000 homestead exemption that Texas voters approved in November – this equates to an increase of $1.25 per year. A tax impact calculator is on the district website for homeowners to calculate the impact on their property taxes.

Any Sulphur Springs ISD resident registered to vote may cast a ballot in this election. Voters will vote “for” or “against” the bond proposition. 

  • The deadline to register to vote in the May election is April 4. 
  • Early Voting will take place April 22 through April 30. 
  • Election Day is Saturday, May 4. 

Sulphur Springs ISD officials will schedule informational meetings to share details and answer questions. They will share the information once they finalize those meetings through the district’s regular communication channels. In the meantime, residents are encouraged to visit ssisd.net/bond for more information.