Since the passing of the Denison Independent School District’s bond Tuesday, DISD Superintendent Henry Scott said the next step for the district is begin working on the expansion of two elementary schools so they can be ready open by the start of the 2021 school year.

Denison voters have said yes to a $20.8 million school bond to expand two of the Denison Independent School District’s elementary schools Tuesday.

The measure was passed with 1,658 votes for and 1,380 votes against, a difference of only 278 votes.

“It was an important vote,” Denison ISD Superintendent Henry Scott said. “Now we can move forward to provide that space that is needed at Mayes and Hyde Park. The only option we had left would be putting more temporary buildings at those campuses which is not a good options. We’re very pleased with the final vote and the fact we will be able to move forward.”

The school board will canvass the votes next week.

“The next thing after that would be to get with the architect and finalize the plans for the additions,” Scott said. “After that we will be accepting bids for the two projects. I would expect construction to start sometime in the latter part of May.

The bond will pay for expanding the Mayes and Hyde Park Elementary schools in Denison to the tune of $20.8 million dollars. The renovations will add 10 classrooms to each campus as well as additional cafeteria space. The renovation will also include the parking lots and bus drop off areas.

Scott said the amendments on the ballot helped spur turnout as it likely drove a few more people to the polls.

“We had a lot of voters turn out that didn’t have the background to know what the issues were with the schools,” Scott said. “We knew that going in when you have election day in November there are people who vote on other issues who have not studied the needs of the district.

Laurie Pillow is a parent of children who attend Hyde Park Elementary School. She was relieved the measure passed.

“I am so grateful to all the Denison residents who voted in this election,” Pillow said. “These changes to Hyde Park and Mayes elementary Schools will benefit many of our students by adding 10 additional classrooms, 20 total, and more cafeteria space on those two campuses.”

Pillow is hopeful the same voters that supported this short-term solution would turn out in the next five years or so when the need to build a new elementary school will likely be brought up. She said the geography of Houston Elementary presents a challenge to expansion at that campus.

The election was called on Aug. 12 when the Denison ISD school board voted to approve the election at a packed school board meeting. That came after the school board was not able to gain enough board votes to call the election at the July 30 meeting.

In addition to the classrooms the bond will also allow for expanding the cafeteria, adding additional technology space and renovating the parking lot and bus drop off space at each campus.

In the meantime the district has asked the state for waivers on expanding the all-day pre-kindergarten program as a result of the overcrowding that prompted the need for the expansion. Last year, the district had to apply for class size waivers with the Texas Education Agency because of crowding too. Scott said he was against adding portable buildings due to security concerns.