With the Nov. 4 election nearing, Aledo ISD superintendent Dr. Derek Citty has been busy holding town hall meetings and speaking to the public about the needs of the school district and why they will be voting on a $61.5 million bond package.
At a presentation Oct. 6 at the Don Daniel Ninth Grade Center Campus, Citty laid out the district’s plans and explained where the money would go, if taxpayers approve it.
Included in the bond package are the building of a new elementary school; renovations/additions to Coder Elementary and also to McAnally Intermediate; the building of controlled access entries to Stuard and Vandagriff Elementary and Aledo Middle School; technology and safety and security upgrades; capital improvements to campuses in need; and the purchase of 18 school buses.
“This whole package is driven by growth in Aledo,” Citty said.
Showing a slide of the current and projected number of students for AISD, Citty said the district will reach 5,061 students this school year and 9,887 by 2023-24. While that latter number may seem to be something hard to grasp, the immediate needs are for a fifth elementary school as both Coder and Stuard will hit maximum capacity - or very near it - by 2017-18.
Citty pointed out Aledo’s grade configuration (kindergarten through fourth grade; fifth and sixth grades at McAnally; seventh and eighth grades at the middle school; a ninth-grade campus and then 10th-12th grades at the high school) and the difference for the schools between maximum and functional capacity.
“Based on the projections, we will exceed functional capacity at McAnally Intermediate at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year; we will exceed functional capacities at both Coder Elementary and Stuard Elementary at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year; and we will exceed functional capacity at McCall Elementary at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year,” Citty read from his prepared slide.
When asked what the district would do if the bond doesn’t pass, Citty was careful to remind those attending that as a representative of the district, he must stick to only the facts and cannot advocate one way or another. He did, however, answer by saying that it is possible the board could go back to the taxpayers in May and ask again but that school would go on even though something would need to be done.
“We are going to have school the next day, no question about that,” Citty said. “But we would have to plan for a solution, possibly purchase portable buildings or examine attendance zones. We will know more of where we stand after the election.”
If passed, the cost of the bond to the average homeowner in the Aledo ISD would be .0958 cents per $100 valuation. For the average-priced Aledo home of $235,268, the cost per month would be $18.78. Those homeowners who are 65 and older would not be impacted by the bond passage.
“Aledo ISD’s tax rate has not changed in seven years and is one of the lowest in the area,” Citty said. “[Wherever you stand] go vote one way or another.”
How it happened
Citty explained at length how the Aledo ISD Board of Trustees came to the decision to call the bond.
He said, in January a citizen’s committee was formed to study the district’s needs and that from March through June, a group of 38 people on that committee reviewed enrollment projections, toured facilities and then made the formal recommendation to the board. On Aug. 18, the bond was called based on those recommendations.
“This was what they identified as the most pressing concerns and we were thrilled by the hard work of the committee,” Citty said.
For more information about the bond and to view Citty’s presentation as well as read frequently asked questions, visit www.aledo.schoolfusion.us.