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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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February 27, 2003     Hays Free Press
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February 27, 2003
 

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February 27, 2003 Current Events Page 3 The Free Press: Hays Bond Defeat, from page 1 mending that Robin Hood be killed. In the end, the voters decided the school district should sit still. "We were expecting a much closer vote," Hays CISD spokesperson Julie Crimmins said. "Obviously, voters are wor- ried about the tax bite. Worries about the economy showed up in the vote, too." The vote against the bonds came down especially laard on election day, when those who had been undecided all along finally made their decisions. The election day vote went 1,678 to 643 against the bonds. The early vote was much closer, only 728- 638 against the bonds. The instructional facilities portion of the 2001 bond passed by 1,237- 772. "I think the message was what we were saying all along" said Bryce Bales, the former HCISD board president who led the bond opposition. 'Tile timing was wrong. We knew that if we got our vote out, the vote would be that high. It was a question of if we could get our vote out?' Of the 1,678 voter increase in participation Saturday compared with the 2001 bond vote, only 44 new votes went for the bond package, with 1,634 voting against it. "It sounds like even with all the growth we've had here, (the school district hasn't) been able' to expand (its) support" Bales said. Puzzled by the outcomer school board members tried to understand the message sent by voters. "I don't think this was just decided with a pro or con posi- tion" HCISD Trustees President Laurie Cromwell said. "There were a lot of factors" HCISD Trustees vice presi- dent Tim Brace said the bond campaign process, which workeff in 2001, might need to be "tweaked?' The process consists in the appointment of a bond advisory committee, which worked through the administra- tion's stated facilities needs dur- Hays ClSD 2003 Bond Election Results February 22, 2003 Early voting Election Day Total Location For Aainst Total % For % Alainst For Alainst Total % For % Against For Alalnat Total % For % Alainst % of Total Tom Green 26 24 50 52.0% 48.0% 15 81 96 18.5% 84.4% 41 105 146 28.1% 71.9% 4% Buda Elementary 77 74 151 51.0% 49.0% 59 144 203 41.0% 70.9% 136 218 354 38.4% 61.6% 10% Buda Primary 229 484 713 47.3% 67.9% 229 484 713 32.1% 67.9% 19% Kyle Elementary 61 88 149 40.9% 59.1% 44 152 196 28.9% 77.6% 105 240 345 30.4% 69.6% 9% Elm Grove 117 132 249 47.0% 53.0% 117 132 249 47.0% . 53.0% 7% Fuentes 55 62 117 47.0% 53.0% 55 62 117 47.0% 53.0% 3% Hernphill 61 51 112 54:5% 45.5% 64 220 264 29.1% 77.5% 125 271 396 31.6% 68.4% 11% Wallace 70 45 115 60.9% 39.1% 70 45 115 60.9% 39.1% 3% Barton 61 112 173 35.3% 64.7% 61 112 173 35.3% 64.7% 5% Hays High 58 96 154 37.7% 62.3% 190 473 663 40.2% 71.3% 248 569 . 817 30.4% 69.6% 22% Wm. M Johnson 52 44 96 54.2% 45.8% 36 60 96 60.0% 62.5% 88 104 192 45.8% 54.2% 5% Driftwood 6 64 70 9.4% 91.4% 6 64 70 8.6% 91.4% 2% Total 638 728 1366 46.7% 53.3% 643 1678 2321 27.7/, 72.3% 1281 2406 3687 34.7% 65.3% 100.0% II ir Eastem 194 181 375 51.7% 48.3% 115 361 476 31.9% 75.8% 309 542 851 57.0% 63.7% 23.1% Northern/Far West 117 132 249 47.0% 53.0% 235 548 783 42.9% 70.0% 352 680 1032 51.8% 65.9% 28.0% Old Kyle 131 133 264 49.6% 50.4% 44 152 196 28.9% 77.6% 175 285 460 61.4% 62.0% 12.5% Old Buda 77 74 151 51.0% 49.0% 59 144 203 41.0% 70.9% 136 218 354 62.4% 61.6% 9.60 HHS Area 119 208 327 36.4% 63.6% 190 473 663 40.2% 71.3% 309 681 990 45.4% 68.8% 26.9% Total 638 728 1366 46.7% 53.3% 643 1678 2321 38.3% 72.3% 1281 2406 3687 53.2% 65.3% 100.0% ing a series of public meetings. "I think most of us going into Saturday didn't think it would fail to the extent that it did" Brace said. "We might have had a false sense of security. But I still think it was our responsibili- ty to put this forward to the vot- ers, based on our needs?' HCISD Trustee Joe Hernandez said he detected a consensus among the quieter par- ticipants in the bond advisory process that the timing wasn't right. Others on the board, if in hindsight, echoed those thoughts. 'q'he bond didn't fail because there are people in the district who don't care about quality eduction" HCISD Trustee Chip DuPont said. "Our job is to look three, four or five years down the road at what our needs are going to be. But there are a whole lot of things in the world right now that cause people to look a little clos- er to today." "What now?" from page I DuPont said. Former HCISD Trustees President Bryce Bales, who led the campaign against the bonds, said "we're willing to work with the district in finding ways to help with this growth?' Bales added that the district would be well-served to bring in a third party to assess the capaci- ty at each school. Much of the debate during the election con- cemed difference of opinion con- ceming school capacity in the HCISD. The school district pitched a concept of "practical capacity," which is about 90 per- cent of full capacity, with a view toward neighborhood schools and more elbow room for stu- dents. Bales and his group, "Citizens for Responsible Education" said too many schools in the district are under- utlilized, especially relative to historical enrollment figures at many campuses. Without new facilities, the board is looking at increased uti- lization of portable buildings. Each portable holds two class- rooms of about 25 students, cost- ing about $70,000, all wiring included. Because the school dis- trict raises about $140,000 for every penny it adds to the Maintenance & Operations (M&O) side of the tax rate, an increase of 500 students would add a nickel, which is the amount by which the I&S rate would have been increased if the bond had passed. Along with cuts on the M&O side to make budget room for the portables, the district also is faced with adjustments to fill existing buildings to maximum capacity. That's likely to necessi- tate new school zone boundaries and bussing of students which will put additional pressure on the M&O budget. "We're not going to be able to put our arms around the neigh- borhood schools concept" said HCISD Trustee Christie Pogue. In addition to trying to figure out how to make do with the facilities on hand, the board also will hire a new superintendent, probably within the next four months. "I have the utmost confidence in this board that we can meet these challenges, though it will be more difficult than I had hoped" Cromwell said. Thank You Citizens for Responsible Education would like to thank the many people who worked and voted in the school bond election, This is a diverse grassroots organization from all areas of the school district dedicated to the Iongterm interest of HCISD. The overwhelming support of the community to vote against the bonds with what was most likely the highest turnout on a school bond vote in the history of the district will benefit all con- stituents of the school district. We know good schools make good communities, and we want to leave an affordable legacy for generations to come. Before we incur more debt, we look forward to helping the district visualize what can be done with existing facilities and facilities currently under construction while focusing on the ultimate goal of quality education for all our children. Please join us at our next meeting scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 6, at the Painted Horse Pavilion located at 1750 S. FM 1626 Pol. adv. Citizens for Responsible Education, P.O. 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