BCISD Bond proposal moves forward
BCISD school officials have decided to move forward with a bond proposal for the November election.
However, it will take some research to determine the amount of the bond needed for the projects, according to Mike King, BCISD superintendent.
“To deliver the education for the whole student through fine arts, academics and athletics, we need to improve our facilities,” Kind said.
According to King, administrators met in January 2013 to discuss the needs of the district. About 10 months ago, they began facility committee meetings. Members took tours of the campuses and thoroughly looked everything over.
The group also made suggestions in order of significance. At the top of the list is the need for a fine arts center that has up to a 1,500 seat auditorium, This was followed by two community meetings and two opportunities to take an online survey offered by BCISD.
Currently, the high school choir has 88 students and no rehearsal space. In addition, there are not any nearby rest room facilities. Students have to walk from the choir hall to the main building to use the bathroom. Plus, drama students use the ‘cafetorium’ to perform. That stage is not a standard size and does not have proper lighting and the acoustics are bad.
The high school has BCTV for students to produce a television show. The media students don’t have a studio or a space to edit the show.
The Strutters and their escorts have about 37 members. They need a larger space for practicing and dressing. Currently, the 11th and 12th grade students use the hallway while the others use a small dressing room. But, King said that was benefit since the hall was much larger.
The band is one of the fastest growing activities in the district. The band hall was originally built for 50 students. Currently, the program has 90 students. The program will grow up to 175 students in 2015-16 school year. The band program now has 349 students in the sixth through 12th grades.
In addition, art exhibitions from 120 students have to be set up in the hallways of the high school. The theater arts program has 130 students.
“The new facility will be something used every day,” King said.
As of Dec. 4th, at BCHS in the band, cheerleading, choir, strutters, drama, BCTV and athletics has a total of 641 students of the 758 total involved in co-cirricular and extra cirricular activities. This is 85 percent of the students at BCHS. The number will increase when the number of students in vocational classes are added.
“Our concern is the co-cirricular and extra cirricular programs have outgrown their current facility,” King said. “The growth as allowed us to recognize this as a need.”
The district recently asked the community to participate in an online survey. The recent results showed 52.3 percent of people were in favor of a bond election that would be directed at building new facilities and improving present facilities that support co-cirricular and extra cirricular activities. In addition, 91.7 percent of people surveyed said they did believe the co-cirricular and extra cirricular programs are an important part of the educational experience for the students.
“The response from the community was very positive,” King said. “But, in asking the questions, the community has said they have concerns about the flood insurance.”
People taking the survey also indicated 56.1 percentwere concerned about higher taxes while 44.7 percent were worried about the possible increase in flood insurance rates.
Dr. Fred Zoch, a former board member, spoke during the first meeting and stated for some people this was too much of an expense at this time. A lot of people in Bridge City may be forced to pay higher flood insurance premiums which will cause a strain on their finances. He added, the timing is not good.
However, city council member, Mike Reed also spoke and informed the audience “The city is exploring getting an engineering firm and the city is looking at joining a coalition with other cities,” he said. “I assure you the city is going to do everything they can to not just delay it but make it go away,” he said of the potential insurance increase.
Since then, the city has filed an appeal with a coalition of the county and surrounding cities and is awaiting a response.
“We recognize we need to see what happens with the flood insurance issues. We would be remiss if we didn’t listen,” King said.
Local officials are unsure as to when they will receive a response to the appeal, but hope to have an answer in the fall of 2014.
At the second meeting a citizen gave his opinion, but was not concerned as much about the insurance and tax increase as he was about the value of the education area students would receive.
Billy Moore, who had a student in the district last year, said if he had to get a job mowing lawns in addition to his full time job, he would do it in order to pay the additional taxes. “I am not going to turn my back on these kids, “ Moore said. “It’s not a need, it’s a must.”
Others who commented in support of a bond said it was the best thing to do. For some, their home is their biggest asset and if they were to sell it, they would want a “buyers market.”
The best thing to do would be to support the bond and support the schools because it would increase property values since potential buyers would look at the schools when purchasing a home, some community members said.