On May 9, for the second time in less than a year, voters in Aledo will go to the polls to decide the fate of a bond proposal for the Aledo ISD.
Last November, voters turned down a $61.5 million proposal that included the construction of a new elementary school and technological update throughout all campuses. The Aledo 2025 Committee went back to work, did some restructuring, and has presented a new proposal totaling $53.2 million.
Will the change to two proposals and reduction in proposed overall cost make voters more willing to say yes? Folks can get a glimpse of the direction of opinions in three upcoming community meetings.
The first meeting is Thursday from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. at the Aledo High School Distance Learning Center. A second one is Tues., April 21, at Stuard Elementary Cafeteria from 6:30 p.m. -8:30 p.m., and a third is scheduled for April 28 from 6-8 p.m. at McCall Elementary Cafeteria.
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The meetings will allow citizens to express views, along with asking questions. They will also be informative, further explaining the details of the proposals, breaking down the finances and where the money will be targeted.
"We want to provide as much information as possible to the community so they can make an educated decision when they vote," said Aledo Superintendent Dr. Derek Citty. "We want them to know exactly what it is they are voting for or against."
This time, the bond is split into two proposals. One will be a $28.8 million bond package that will focus on a new elementary school. The other will be a $24.4 million package that will focus on technology, new school buses, safety and security, and construction and renovation within existing facilities.
Citty said three meetings at three locations is for the convenience of all in the community.
"We try to have one geographically convenient for everyone," he said. "We also vary the times to be accommodating with people's schedules."
Citty said visits are also being made to Parent-Teacher Organization meetings, campuses and even with ministers in the school district to educate folks about what's in the proposals.
"We go wherever the community needs us to go to help educate them on this or any other matter," he said.
Citty stressed, however, that the meetings are not intended to persuade voters in any direction. The meetings are strictly to inform, answer questions and communicate.
"The law is really clear,” he said. “When using school resources, we cannot advocate for the bond.”
The proposals do not include the cost of land on which to place the new elementary school. However, with the newest district growth projected to be in the upcoming Walsh Ranch development, the school is expected to be built on land donated within that development.
The entire Aledo 2025 Committee's vision includes the need for another three elementary schools to be constructed in 2019, 2021 and 203 with a third middle school to be added in 2020. Those are not included in this bond proposal.