bond election

San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Carlos Rios presents to Board of Trustees President Raymond P. Meza voting results for the bond election on the school district’s watch party stream on Tuesday night.

San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District bond election passed with a 475 vote lead according to the unofficial results posted Tuesday at the Val Verde County Courthouse.

Early voting consisted of 918 votes for the bond and 665 votes against the bond. After election day votes were tallied, 1,701 votes were for the bond and 1,226 were against the bond.

Votes for the bond do not include precincts 32, 42 and 43, as those precincts encompass Comstock Independent School District.

There are 27,732 registered voters in Val Verde County and 3,058 cast a vote during early voting and election day. The voter turnout was 11.03 percent of the overall number of registered voters in the county.

The construction of a new elementary school on the city’s north side was approved by the public and final results were announced on Tuesday night. Results were delayed due to technical difficulties, according to Val Verde County Clerk Generosa “Janie” Gracia-Ramon.

The bond consists of $19 million for the construction of a new elementary school and the purchase of a 10-acre tract of land.

The state of Texas will provide funds for 49.2 percent of the bond, equaling to an estimated $9.3 million. The school district will fund an estimated $9.6 million, approximately 50.8 percent of the initial bond.

After the 86th State Legislature approved House Bill 3, local taxes decreased from $1.1598 per $100 of appraised property value to $1.06173. The bond will increase local taxes to $1.11873, which is still $0.0570 cents lower compared to tax rates in 2018, according to a previous bond election presentation.

Citizens will still see a decrease in taxes next year, as HB 3 requires the school district’s maintenance and operations tax rate to decrease by another $0.0135 cents by the year 2020.

The overall tax rate for 2020 will be $1.10524 and will be lower than the 2019 tax rate.

The new school will accommodate the growing population on the city’s north side according to San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District officials.

“I think all of us have worked real hard toward the needs that we’re having in this district, specially the growth in the north … It’s something that is well needed. I think with neighborhood schools and the prospect of having schools where the families are it’s going to help the city quite a bit and our bussing situation,” Board of Trustees President Raymond P. Meza said.

Meza said there are currently 500 children in that specific area and believes within two years the new elementary school will be at capacity.

School district Superintendent Dr. Carlos Rios said the development of the new elementary school will allow the school district to redistribute the student body along the concept of neighborhood schools.

“That definitely decreases bussing, kids won’t have to get up as early to get to the bus stop and they won’t have as long bus rides to get to school. Classrooms will be smaller and that’s exciting because when you look at our two smallest campuses in the district, both are around 500 students and are our highest rated campuses,” Rios said.

Rios said research at the state and national level indicate schools that around 500 students are the optimal size for student achievement. “Things are looking good at that end (in regards to student achievement) and that’s what we’re hoping to provide to this community … I think (student achievement) will have a profound effect on the economic development of the community as well, because a more educated student body turns into a more educated workforce that propels economic development,” Rios said.

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