BISD enrollment will continue to rise
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 by David Tuma
In 2006, the Belton Independent School District raised $22.9 million and the interest rate was just less than five percent and in 2004 BISD raised $32 million and the rate was again just less than five percent.
Voters will decide if the proposed $60 million bond issue for two elementary schools and a middle school will pass. If it does the interest rate will be 3.5 percent. With each bond issue in 2004, 2006 and 2012 the number of years on the note is 25 years.
The difference on the interest rate from the older bond issues and the one being passed is substantial with a 4.5 cents difference per 100,000 evaluation. The one thing that isn't going to change is the enrollment increases that are not going away. Temporary buildings last around 15-20 years.
In grades K-4 the state mandates a 22-students per classroom ratio. Each year BISD has to write the state requesting some waivers and this year it was from 46 classrooms. It usually goes back down after the Christmas break to around 10-15 classrooms but this spring there are still 23 classrooms over the limit.
"When enrollment increases the most efficient way to handle the growth is to build permanent structures. We still have 23 classrooms over the limit in the grades K-4," said Eric Haugeburg, Assistant Superintendent for BISD.
Enrollment numbers have increased the district population by 2,700 since 2000. Portables at the high school increase the capacity to 2,500 but in five years the enrollment is expected to jump above the 3,000 mark for the first time ever in 2017. Those numbers are estimates but BISD has a long history of getting its estimates correct. Middle school capacity is expected to be ok heading into 2020 but the elementary numbers are expected to be at capacity by next school year and rise.
One of the key selling points to the bond issue package is that construction costs are very low in relative terms to the rising cost of construction this decade in central Texas. Since 2003 BISD has used the Architect firm of SHW. "Basically a lot of construction employees were laid off and lost their jobs during the recession. It took some time for it to hit Texas but it did. Before the recession a lot of contractors could dictate pricing. Since this recession we have seen deflation in terms of labor cost and a hold on material pricing the past three years. We were seeing 10 pricing increases with inflation in 2004 and 2005 in terms of education facility construction in Texas. As the economy improves we will see construction price increases," said Barry Nebhut, Project Director for SHW.
"The reaction to the bond issue has been positive. The bond was created by the Long-range planning committee and taking everything into account this was the logical choice. If this plan is approved all areas of the district will be impacted," said Haugeburg.
Early voting begins April 30th through May 8th with bond election set for May 12th.