The Denison Independent School District could save close to $7 million dollars in existing bonds as it prepares to finance its upcoming school expansion project. The DISD school board approved refinancing some of its already existing bonds while preparing for the issuance the new bond.
The $20.8 million bond that was approved by voters in November will expand two of the district’s elementary schools, Mayes and Hyde Park.
DISD Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Randy Reid said the district could save approximately $7 million, and the district’s financial advisers would next look for the best path forward and present it to the board in a future meeting.
DISD Superintendent Henry Scott talked about the growth the district is facing in response to the joint meeting that board of trustees conducted with the City Council on Dec. 2.
“Our objective in that was to continue our partnership with the city of Denison to deal with the growth we’re getting and to let them share with us,” Scott said in a phone interview. “I was delighted to see we were right on target were the growth is. I didn’t know exactly what to expect. We worked on an agenda between both bodies. I think it came off like I thought it would and had a nice turnout from citizens which was encouraging.”
Scott said even with the bond passing, the district is still tight on space. The new expansions won’t be completed until by the 2021 school year. He said the key area to keep an eye on is the elementary level as there remains room to expand at the secondary level.
Each month he receives a report on the number of permits issued by the city. He said typically he looks at it and makes a note but he said he was still taken back by the explosive growth in the Hyde Park attendance zone.
“I knew it was more than the others but I had no idea it was in that level. That really surprised me. I expected it to be more in the Mayes attendance zone because we’ve experienced growth there as well.”
He said while the goal remains to avoid installing temporary buildings, it may still come to that if the growth exceeds to district’s projections which he said was the unknown variable.
Despite the push for the bond Scott maintained it was a short term solution designed to hold the district for the next 3-5 years. The district’s hope is that by that time the citizen led facility committee will bring back a plan that can address those ongoing issues.
“You have to trust that committee comes up with the best solution they as tax payers can support,” Scott said. “It will be what they thought was best for the school district.”
Scott said he won’t interject his opinions onto the steering committee. He does hope the issues facing Houston Elementary will be a priority.
“We have got to replace Houston,” Scott said. “It is small, not very efficient. It could be used for some other educational purpose or maybe some community purpose. Other than that, the committee has got to look at more than elementary schools. They have to look at the secondary schools as well. We have some capacity at all three of those campuses. That capacity could run out real quick if we had major growth in the next 3-5 years.”
Scott said it gets more difficult to project what will happen beyond three years.
The district is still facing over crowding issues even with the expansions slated to occur in the next year. Looking beyond the district is keeping a watchful eye on the growth around the city which Scott said is getting harder to predict.
Now that the administrative hurdles have been cleared Scott said the district will get to shopping for the best rate on the bonds and construction will likely begin next summer. In the meantime he, along with everyone in the district, is waiting to see what the attendance numbers will look like in the future.