Members of the Tomball ISD Board of Trustees recently agreed to call an election, in order to propose a $160 million bond issue that will provide new schools, renovations at current campuses, new technology and additional school buses.
The district recently put together a steering committee, made up of area residents and district employees, to study growth and needs within the district. Projections estimate that the district will grow by nearly 4,000 students over the next five years.
The steering committee recommended building four new schools to accommodate that growth. New elementary and intermediate schools will be built on the south side of the district, while an elementary school and a junior high are proposed for areas near The Woodlands.
The district also plans to perform several improvement and renovation projects at other schools as well. The plan calls for a new agricultural project barn directly adjacent to the current facility, as well as adding field turf and track renovations to Tomball ISD Stadium. Also, new weight rooms will be added to each junior high campus.
In addition to the extra-curricular activities improvements, the district also plans to upgrade heating, air conditioning, roof replacement, lighting, paving of parking lots and several other maintenance and facility improvements.
Renovations will include the front administration areas and cafeterias at both Lakewood and Decker Prairie, while Timber Creek and Creekside Forest will receive minor renovations to aid in the transition to the new K-5 grade configuration.
Finally the district looks to purchase additional school buses, as well as upgrading the district's technology programs and technology for instruction purposes as well. They will also provide funding for security areas near the front entrances at schools that currently do not have that.
Tomball ISD Communications Director Staci Stanfield said the school board and steering committee put in long hours to study and design the proposal.
"The steering committee and their subcommittees spent a great deal of time studying the district's needs," she said. "They did a very thorough job and were extremely committed."
Stanfield went on to say that if voters approve the bond issue, which will be held during the May 11 election, the financial impact on property owners will be minimal. The portion of Tomball ISD's tax rate that services interest and debt is currently 35 cents per $100 of valuation.
"It will go no higher than 40 cents," she said.
She added that the district will take the same steps as they did in 2007 – selling bonds in a manner that is fiscally responsible and will ensure the rate never goes higher than 40 cents.
Stanfield said the district also wants voters to have all the information they need to make an informed decision at the polls, so they will post all the information on their website, as well as answer any questions voters may have.
"It's important for us to give factual information and let the community know what our plans are," she said.
The Tomball ISD website is www.tomballisd.net. The election is set for May 11, 2013.