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Hays CISD proposing largest bond to date with $367M price tag

Hays CISD voters can expect to see four propositions included in the bond that range from amped-up security to new facilities for extracurriculars.

HAYS COUNTY, Texas — A $367 million dollar bond is on the table for Hays CISD voters. The bond would support topics like academics, fine arts and technology throughout the district. 

The Hays CISD bond will be split into four propositions:

  • Prop A: $208,814,047 for new school construction, improvements and new school buses
  • Prop B: $102,857,074 for school renovations focused on fine arts, athletics and career/technical education facilities
  • Prop C: $3,980,000 for technology
  • Prop D: $52,173,445 for outdoor multipurpose pavilions

Eric Wright, the superintendent of Hays CISD, said that this bond allows the district to keep pace with its growth. 

"We have added 3,500 new homes per year, and we're looking at adding an additional 1,500 students next year. So just to keep pace with with our growth, we need to continue to build schools and then revamp and remodel the ones that we already have," Wright said.

According to Wright, all 26 campuses that make up Hays CISD would receive some type of upgrade with this bond. Whether it's a parking lot upgrade, plumbing, safety and security – some aspect of the campus would be updated.

Prop B has a specific focus on extracurriculars, including adding more music instruments to schools, creating an 800-seat auditorium for the theater program at Lehman High School and expanding the weight room at Hays High School.

"What we've discovered in Central Texas is that all the water districts don't allow us to water our fields. so the playability of those fields just isn't great. So looking at player safety and then just conservation of water, we're looking at adding those those artificial turf fields to each of our high school campuses," Wright said. 

Wright explained that the bond also has around $9 million allocated for fencing, security cameras and keyless access cards to make sure they have the latest cutting edge technology to keep students safe and secure. 

Those on the opposing sid of the bond, including Hays CISD parent Katelyn Shepherd, explained that as a taxpayer and a private citizen, it upsets her that the district wants $367 million for new turf and dugouts.

"A parking lot and $4 million for an architect just to draw up an expansion so that they can hit us with another bond to actually build the expansion. It has nothing for academia," Shepherd said.

Shepherd said she's been uninvited from meetings with district due to her disagreements about the bond, but she will still push to voice her opinions on where the money to support the $367 million bond is coming from. 

"They're saying that it's going to come from the businesses in Kyle and it's like, okay, so are you going to kill all the small businesses by taxing them out of their businesses? They're not going to be able to afford the taxes. So they're going to have to close their doors. So now are we killing small businesses in Kyle so that we can have turf and dugouts?" Shepherd said.

Wright said there will be no tax rate increase anticipated with this bond. 

"We've been able to leverage growth over the last several years. Our school board has been able to actually decrease the overall tax rate by $0.20 the last five years, and it looks like we'll be able to decrease it once again," Wright said.

However, Shepherd disagrees, saying the verbiage, in her opinion, sounds shady. 

"If you read very carefully, there's verbiage in there that leaves us taxpayers at risk. It says that they can raise it, and there's no ceiling to how much they can raise our taxes in the next 30 years," Shepherd said. "So I feel like they're being shady in their verbiage ... like, you have to read the fine print."

If the bond does pass, Wright said certain projects would start in June. 

Residents in the district can cast their ballot for or against the bond on Election Day, which is Saturday, May 6. 

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