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DPISD to send $156M bond proposal in front of voters

Written by InsideDP.com Staff. Posted in Schools

Deer Park ISD Circle simple small 250IN SCHOOLS
Voters will have their say on a proposed $156 million bond election for Deer Park ISD in Novemember. The bond includes capital projects including the reconstruction of Carpenter Elementary and extensive renovations of the Deepwater and Deer Park junior high campuses.
WA CarpenterAmong the items on the Nov. 7 DPISD Bond Proposal is a reconstruction of the WA Carpenter Elementary Campus. Opened in 1958, the school has costly plumbing, electrical, foundation and other issues. InsideDP file photo.

Deer Park ISD will hold a school bond election on Nov. 7, 2017. Voters will have the option of supporting or opposing the issuance of $156 million in school bonds to provide funds for a variety of capital projects and improvements to facilities, new technology and upgrades, new fine arts equipment, safety and security updates, new school buses, improvements to athletic facilities and equipment, and much more.

If the Bond Election is approved by voters, projects in Instruction, Safety and Security, Support Services, and Facilities will be completed.

According to Superintendent of Schools Victor White, if voters approve it, the bond election will provide something for every school in the District.

"One of the biggest proposed bond projects is technology," he said. "The proposal includes new classroom computers, significant upgrades to our District and school networks and wireless system, a new telephone system, and more. Many of these items will replace equipment that is end-of-life, which means service and parts are no longer available for them."

The bond proposal also includes new library books, student and staff furniture, security cameras, and more for all schools. Several schools will receive new air conditioning systems, flooring and lighting, and new cafeteria equipment. The bond proposal includes 35 regular school buses and 15 special needs buses.

The largest projects included in any bond election are ones relating to facilities, and the 2017 bond proposal is no exception. The proposal includes the reconstruction of Carpenter Elementary and extensive renovations to Deepwater Junior High and Deer Park Junior High. An independent company evaluated several District schools and made the recommendations included in the bond proposal.

"Carpenter was built in 1958, and a lot has changed since then in terms of school facilities," White said. "Unfortunately, the school itself has also changed a great deal. It has ongoing roof and exterior issues, but the biggest concerns are often unseen. There are costly problems with the foundation, plumbing system, electrical system, and more."

DWJH and DPJH were both opened in the mid-1960s, and they each have similar, if slightly less extensive, issues as Carpenter.

White said the District made the most out of its last bond election, which funded several major projects like the construction of the new San Jacinto Elementary and massive renovations to Deer Park High School-North Campus.

"We completed every project we said we would, and some of them came in under budget and ahead of schedule, which helped us stretch the previous bond out over seven years instead of following our usual five-year schedule," he explained. "At the time, the economy wasn't doing as well, and out of consideration for community members, we decided to postpone our next bond election until now."

If approved, the bond election will result in a five-cent tax increase for property owners, with the average taxpayer seeing an increase of about $4.48 per month. White pointed out that the increase is less than the cost of two cups of coffee at a popular national chain of coffee restaurants.

Community members who are over 65 years old and have filed the appropriate paperwork with the county will see no tax increase because their property taxes are capped.

Unlike the District's previous bond election, the 2017 bond election will not offer courtesy voting locations because the election will take place on a uniform date. "That means the county takes the lead in establishing early voting locations and election day locations," White said. "They are essentially running this election, so we have to follow their procedures."

Early voting takes place on weekdays from Oct. 23-Nov. 3 at Harris County early voting locations. The only county-approved early voting location in Deer Park ISD is located at the Kyle Chapman Annex, 7330 Spencer Highway, Pasadena TX 77505. Early voting times are:

• Oct. 23-27: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
• Oct. 28: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
• Oct. 29: 1 p.m.-6 p.m.
• Oct. 30-Nov. 3: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

On Nov. 7, election day voting locations will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Election day voting locations include all locations approved by Harris County and listed at www.harrisvotes.com as well as the following locations in DPISD:

• Carpenter Elementary
5002 Pasadena Blvd.
Deer Park, TX 77536

• Dabbs Elementary
302 E. Lambuth
Deer Park, TX 77536

• Deepwater Junior High
501 Glenmore
Pasadena, TX 77503

• Fairmont Elementary
4315 Heathfield
Pasadena, TX 77505

For more information about the 2017 Deer Park ISD Bond Election, go to: www.dpisd.org/bonds2017.