The process for reviewing and selecting projects for a possible Bond election continued with discussion of a sixth high school, two elementary schools, school expansions, and new performing arts and athletics facilities on Nov. 10.
The Round Rock ISD Citizens Bond Committee (CBC) held its second in a series of meetings aimed at evaluating District needs for a possible May 6, 2017, Bond election.
Over 100 members of District staff, parents, and community members gathered at Cedar Ridge High School to represent four subcommittees: Innovation, Safety, Growth, and Finance.
Each subcommittee was tasked to review facilities and capital renewal/replacement projects in alignment with the community and Board’s vision for schools, outlined in its Strategic Plan.
To begin the meeting, Citizens Bond Committee Chair Ron Buffum, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Flores, and Board President Paul J. Tisch addressed the group to thank them for their efforts and to recognize the importance of their work in assessing the needs of campuses.
Following the initial gathering, subcommittees separated into their designated groups to further review and discuss their respective project scopes.
Throughout the meeting process, subcommittees will prioritize those requests. The subcommittees will present reports to the CBC Advisory Committee, which will work with the Board of Trustees to create a final proposal by February 16, 2017.
The Citizens Bond Committee launched a survey to gain more insight on potential project. The Committee will review requests from the community and staff regarding concerns of school expansions, new facilities, campus improvements and safety and security across all schools.
The next CBC meeting will be on November 15, 2016. Based on feedback from committee members, additional meetings and campus tours could be scheduled.
The Innovation Subcommittee discussed potential options for educational programs and initiatives related to teaching and learning. Subcommittee members also shared their experiences from the tours they took which showcased various campuses and features that are being considered for proposal. The group reviewed the district’s Strategic Plan and alignment of potential programs.
The subcommittee also reviewed and discussed the scope of its projects which includes Public Schools of Choice through school expansions and new schools, including a permanent facility for Early College, Health Professions, and Career Tech high schools, as well as an Early Childhood Center. Educational offerings and funding were also discussed.
The incorporation of new technology was also discussed which includes the evaluation of programmatic requests for new technology and classroom enhancements including replacing old projectors with touch LCD screens and classroom audio systems for teachers. Members discussed their observation of the proposed technology in action at Joe Lee Johnson Elementary.
The Safety Subcommittee discussed safety and security systems stabilization, standardization and modernization. Discussion topics included visitor management systems at campuses, emergency telephone systems, bus security and GPS, video surveillance at campuses and facilities, intrusion detection systems, campus fire alarm systems, and PA systems. Subcommittee members also shared information collected on school tours which included safety features being considered for a potential bond.
The subcommittee also discussed playground safety including potential hazards of pea gravel and the potential cost of replacing playground surfaces with an alternative material.
Addressing growth, the Growth Subcommittee reviewed the list of items on the their respective project scope. Round Rock ISD Chief Operating Officer, Bob Cervi also answered citizens questions and provided expertise regarding current and proposed facilities.
The subcommittee divided the proposed projects into five project groups led by citizens. The project groups included: 1. Athletic, performing arts and aquatics, 2. Outdoor athletic facility III, Dragon Stadium and MS athletic facility upgrades, 4. Westwood auditorium, parking garage, and Westwood High School phase IIII 5. School expansions for growth and dance portables. Each group will discuss their project scope, prioritize and give a presentation to the entire Growth Subcommittee.
Further discussion included the request for project costs and the use of the scoring rubric to determine project priority.
The Finance Subcommittee continued its look at the District’s possible Bond scenarios while learning about the District’s current financial climate and the laws surrounding Bond elections.
Glenn Opel, the public finance partner at Bracewell Law and the District’s bond counsel, presented information on the background of Bond elections, including detailed information about proposition and ballot language and other laws related to Bond elections.
Randy Staats, Round Rock ISD Chief Financial Officer, presented historical information regarding the District’s finances, including debt management practices and current debt obligations.
Further discussions addressed Bond package scenarios and the financial climate of the District.