Sharyland ISD asking voters’ approval of $40M bond

Sharyland ISD’s school board is asking voters to approve a $40 million bond in the upcoming election, which would fund additions and renovation projects at three campuses, and build a new headquarters for the school district.

The district held a virtual town hall Wednesday evening to discuss the bond with taxpayers, which includes two proposals.

Proposal A sets aside $34 million for additions and renovations for Sharyland High School, Sharyland Advanced Academic Academy (SA3), and John H. Shary Elementary.

Proposal B would use $6 million for a new headquarters building for SISD.

A long-range facility committee created in 2019 — made up of school board members, administrators, campus principals and community leaders — composed and unanimously approved the bond.

Sharyland homeowners would see a tax rate increase of a maximum of .03 cents until 2025 if the bond is approved. The current tax rate for residents is $1.2808, and if the bond is passed, it would be raised to $1.2838.

Under the bond, a taxpayer with a $200,000 home would pay $5.15 monthly, which adds up to $61.80 annually for Sharyland residents.

According to a 20-year projection chart shown in the meeting, the highest the tax rate would go would be $1.3227 between 2025 and 2033. The lowest will be $1.1993 from 2037 to 2041.

Sharyland ISD Superintendent Maria Vidaurri said at the town hall that the bond’s goal is to make sure the district is “keeping up with the new learning and innovative learning (trends).”

A part of Proposal A focuses on making a “college-like atmosphere” at Sharyland High and SA3.

Renovations to Sharyland High’s band hall and cafeteria are also included in the proposal, which Vidaurri said is needed.

“If you walk around SHS, you (would) see that our kids eat indoors, outdoors,” she said. “… It really is going to give them a new innovative cafeteria in order to seat more children, (and) be a little more open.”

The school has nearly 240 band students, and the superintendent said they need more space.

“Our kids are working in a small room,” she said.

The proposal also includes a 21st century learning center, an instructional program space, along with a space for collaboration among students for Sharyland High.

Sharyland High’s building is more than 45 years old, and in 2010, a $9,985,000 bond was passed for several renovation projects to the campus, including gym upgrades, exterior improvements, parking lot updates and two new buildings.

Additions to Shary Elementary include a new sixth-grade wing, and a new library.

The superintendent explained that the elementary was initially designed to house only kinder through second grade students. The campus is currently housing kinder through sixth graders.

The elementary is also one of the oldest libraries in the district, and Vidaurri said the funds, if approved, would go toward building a better facility.

“So we will be able to upgrade their library and give them a library that is equal to all the other libraries in the district,” she said.

Proposal B would use $6 million to build a new central administration building for the district. Since 2016, Ismael Gonzalez, the district’s assistant superintendent for business and finance, said in the town hall the city of Mission prohibited the administration from using their original facilities.

Since then, they have been borrowing a building of Sharyland High.

“The idea here is to return that building we are in currently back to Sharyland High School for instructional purposes, and rebuild a new headquarters for Sharyland (to use) for the next 100 years,” Gonzalez said.

The bond has been in the works for about a year and a half, according to Gonzalez. Plans for the proposal were paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the long-range facility committee decided it was important to move forward.

Voters will be able to decide whether they support each proposal individually.

Early voting starts on Oct. 13 and ends Oct. 30, and Election Day is Nov. 3.