The Cleveland ISD Board of Trustees voted on Monday, Aug. 15, to call for a $115 million bond election in November. If approved by voters, the bond will fund five new projects that will address overcrowding and improve the career and vocational prospects for Cleveland High School graduates.
The projects proposed in the zero tax rate increase bond were suggested by a bond committee made up of community residents that was created in April.
“They have worked and worked, and met every other week since April. They presented their ideas to the school board last month and the board last night voted to accept the proposal,” said Superintendent Stephen McCanless on Tuesday.
Should the bond pass, the projects to be funded are:
- A middle school next to the new Northside Elementary campus on FM 2025 on land already owned by Cleveland ISD;
- A Career and Technical Education (CTE) building next to the high school on the former baseball/softball fields;
- Minor renovations to the current Cleveland Middle School to make it into a freshman and sophomore campus;
- Renovations to Southside Elementary; and
- Renovations to Douglass Learning Academy, which hasn’t seen major improvements in years.
The bond election is a zero tax rate increase referendum, which means that the school district will not raise its tax rate to accommodate repayment of the bond. However, because valuations of properties within Cleveland ISD have gone up, property owners could see slight tax increases, which is why voter approval is required.
If the bond referendum is approved, the former Northside Elementary campus, which is currently being used as a ninth-grade campus, will become an early college high school to help students earn college credits before high school graduation.
“We will continue using that campus,” McCanless said of the old Northside Elementary.
McCanless said the District will hold informational meetings with local citizens in the coming weeks to explain the zero tax rate increase bond. Once those dates are set, Bluebonnet News will share them with readers.
At Monday night’s meeting, the school board also pumped the brakes on the new administration building that is in the works for a property next to Tractor Supply and across from Cleveland Middle School.
“The board voted to end the Construction Manager at Risk contract and go a different route. When we did this months ago, prices were not what they are now. We plan to rebid this and hope it comes in at a lower bid. Once those bids come in, the board will make a decision on moving forward. We are just taking a pause because we want to be extremely efficient with the tax dollars,” McCanless said.