The Voter Approved Tax Rate Election, or VATRE, failed by 19 votes. However, the paper notes the VATRE could change once all of the mail-in votes are counted.
The paper also notes the results are unofficial until certified, and Texas election officials have from eight to 14 days to do so. A special meeting will be held on Nov. 14 to canvas the votes.
On Aug. 15, 2022, Lockhart ISD said its Board of Trustees called for a $71 million bond election with no school tax rate increase and a Voter Approved Tax Rate Election, or VATRE, for November 2022.
The district said that, if approved, the bond would provide for the purchase of land for a new elementary school and its construction, as well as a new wing at Lockhart High School to support 500 more students.
Lockhart ISD's chief of staff, Christina Courson, told KUT the number of students attending the district's schools is growing faster than expected. Courson told KUT the district is looking at nearly 5% growth this year, when it was expecting about 2% to 2.5%.
KUT reported that four of Lockhart ISD's five elementary schools have already exceeded their capacity and are using portable classrooms, illustrating the need for an additional school, which the approved bond is expected to pay for. Nicole Dean, Lockhart ISD’s chief financial officer, told KUT that if the bond passed, she expected the new elementary school to be built and ready to open for the 2024-25 school year.
As for the expansion of Lockhart High School, Dean told KUT that school is already overcapacity, with seven portable buildings currently on campus. She said the high school is so overcrowded that some teachers don't have their own classrooms and use other teachers' rooms when they're available.
According to KUT's report, Lockhart ISD anticipates another bond election by 2025 that would seek to, among other things, fund construction of a seventh elementary school and a second middle school. A third bond is expected no later than 2028 and includes plans for another elementary school and another addition to the high school.
PEOPLE ARE ALSO READING: