At this week’s Deer Park Rotary Club meeting, Deer Park ISD officials discussed a proposed bond’s elements, impact and other details with the club. The $156 million bond election, which includes numerous improvements and capital projects will be on the Nov. 7 ballot.
From security upgrades to a brand new elementary facility, a bond proposal set for the Nov. 7 election will provide improvements across Deer Park ISD. School Superintendent Victor White was the guest speaker at the Deer Park Rotary Club meeting where he explained the details of the proposed $156 million bond and its impact on the district and its taxpayers.
“The only reason a school district approaches its community is to address the needs they have that are big ticket items,” White said.
Deer Park ISD has broken down the bond into four areas which address instruction, security and safety, support services and facilities.
“We are looking at new facilities, major renovations to current facilities, addressing expensive issues like technology, purchasing school buses and those sort of things,” he said.
Information regarding the bond breaks down the four areas even further.
Under instruction, the district plans to spend $50.4 million. Campus needs under this section includes the purchase of new library books, resource materials, library equipment and furniture, classroom and cafeteria furniture, and science lab equipment.
Also in that $50.4 million is the purchase new and upgraded computers; upgrade and replace servers, network appliances, routers, and other equipment; replace network cabling; replace phone system; upgrade wireless network; replace outdated projectors; install projection/sound systems in gyms and cafeterias; install projection/sound system in Gaines Mason Auditorium; and upgrade system software including Skyward.
The instruction phase of the bond also includes improvements for the district’s fine arts program. These projects are: replace choral risers at some schools; install lighting systems for DWJH and DPJH; repair curtains and rigging system at Gaines Mason Auditorium; PAC equipment maintenance; install new carpet and floor lighting in the PAC; new concert uniforms for high school; and the purchase Charms software.
Also in the instruction component is upgrades to the athletic program facilities which include to resurface tracks; resurface tennis courts; upgrade softball and baseball field drainage; increase seating capacity at softball field; replace gym backboards; repair/replace field sprinkler systems; paint walls/fences; repair/replace outdoor basketball goals; and repair baseball/softball backstops.
The last item in the instruction phase of the bond is the career and technical programs, which will be to expand the Agriculture Barn capacity and parking at the facility and to purchase equipment.
The bond also includes $3 million earmarked for security upgrades. Should the bond be passed, the district plans to replace surveillance cameras; install shatter-resistant window film; update Raptor visitor check-in system; purchase panic alarms; purchase emergency radios; install safety vestibules; and install safety lighting.
Under support services, the district will allocate $32 million that will be spent on child nutrition, operations and transportation. For child nutrition, the district would replace equipment in all schools, including ovens, steamers, vent hoods, warmers, freezers, ice machines, and fire suppression systems.
For operations the district would also replace chillers, cooling towers, HVAC controls, boilers, and air handlers; address roofing and building exterior needs at several schools; recapture instructional space; replace the rear North Campus parking lot; and upgrade flooring, ceilings, and lighting.
The largest part of the bond is $70.6 million in facilities projects. These projects are to rebuild Carpenter Elementary and relocate the Bonnette Junior High football stadium; install new turf at Abshier Stadium, renovate both Deer Park and Deepwater junior high campuses; and demolish the old San Jacinto Elementary.
Deer Park ISD hired an independent contractor recommended by the Texas Association of School Boards which inspected the Carpenter, which opened in 1958, and Deepwater Junior High and Deer Park Junior High campuses, which opened in the mid 1960s.
“All of our facilities are well-maintained and cared for,” White said. “Once the group looked at the bones of the facilities, they made recommendations. To bring Carpenter up to the standard of a modern educational facility, it would cost much more to renovate. It would be more beneficial to build a new building.”
Conversely, the same contractor determined the district could extend the life of both Deer Park and Deepwater junior high campuses by 15-20 years through extensive renovations.
Deer Park ISD also provided conservative estimates on the bond proposal’s financial impact on tax payers. The average Deer Park ISD home is valued at $165,777, which would see a monthly increase of $4.48. A $200,000 home would have an increase of $5.63 per month while a $250,000 home would have an increase of $7.29 per month. The cost adds up to a 5 cent tax increase.
If the bond is approved, it will not increase taxes for people who have filed a 65 and over tax exemption. These bond funds are also not subject to recapture from the state through the Robin Hood finance plan.
Early voting begins Oct. 23 and runs through Nov. 3 at the Kyle Chapman Annex, 7330 Spencer Hwy. in Pasadena. Early voting hours are Oct. 23-27 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Oct. 28 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Oct. 29 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; and Oct. 30-Nov. 3 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information on the bond and its components, visit www.dpisd.org.