Tuesday voters approved both Propositions A and B of the Little Elm ISD school bond.
Sixty-nine percent of voters were in favor of Proposition A, and proposition B passed with 65 percent of the vote.
Little Elm ISD Superintendent Daniel Gallagher said, “I’ve gotten a lot of emails and text messages congratulating me, and the first thing I told people is that it is not about me. I feel so good about this because it is a win for the kids. Now that we’ve got voter support with this bond, we can truly move forward with planning for the construction of these two new middle schools. We’re really excited about that.”
Proposition A addresses growth and school renovations. The district is now authorized to sell bonds for $239.5 million. It includes the construction of a replacement school for Lakeside Middle School and another middle school, purchase land and buses for future use and convert Prestwick and Powell for kindergarten through fifth-grade instruction. It also includes the construction of a new multipurpose facility at Little Elm High School for extracurricular programs, new baseball and softball facilities and expanding LEHS career and technical education facilities. There are plans for safety and infrastructure updates at existing campuses.
Proposition B for $4.5 million is for refunding previously incurred debt.
The main priority will be the construction of the two new middle schools. The first thing that will happen is the formation of a bond oversight committee. About 14 people will comprise the committee and will oversee the use of bond funds as various pieces of the bond progresses.
“The two new middle schools will happen at the same time,” Gallagher said.
Building the two schools simultaneously will save about $11 million in escalating construction costs. One school will be built on the east side of Little Elm and the other on the west side. Both schools will occupy about 25 acres. Both new schools will be built as alike as possible, and both will offer the same opportunities to students. The new facilities are scheduled for completion in 2020.
Lakeside Middle School Principal Clint Miller is looking forward to the new schools.
“The changes are long overdue. We’re excited about our kids having the same opportunities that other kids have in the districts around them,” he said.
Two new schools will relieve the overcrowding at Lakeside. Things are so crowded now that certain hallways have to be one-way hallways.
“Once the bond passed, that gave us a quantifiable way of knowing we have the support of the community. We’ve always felt that support. This just gave us a concrete way of knowing it,” Executive Director for Education Services and Little Elm High School graduate Ashley Glover said. “I’m excited for the opportunities our kids have now and the opportunities in the future. We’ll be able to continue to excel.”
The bond will increase the tax rate by 10 cents or approximately $18.75 a month for homes valued at $250,000. Property taxes for citizens 65 and older will not be affected as long as a homestead and over 65-exemption application have been filed with the Denton County Appraisal District.