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Voters in fast-growing Hays County approve two school bond packages


Hays County voters pass the largest school bond in the district’s history.

Hays district’s property tax rate of 1.54 per $100 of assessed value will remain unchanged under the proposal.

Hays County residents approved several hundred million dollars in school upgrades with two bond packages in Saturday’s election.

Both the Hays and San Marcos school districts sought bonds to pay for facilities to accommodate their rapid growth. Taxpayers handily passed both bond packages, neither of which is expected to increase property tax rates.

The Hays school district sought a $250 million bond package — the largest in district history — for three new schools and new facilities and upgrades for student programs.

Proposition 1, $189.9 million for a third high school and two elementaries, passed with 59.56 percent of the vote. Proposition 2, $60.2 million, for new auto and vet tech buildings, with upgrades to technology, athletic facilities and school libraries, passed with 64.7 percent.

The district has seen explosive growth in the past decade, with enrollment increasing 61 percent since the 2006-07 school year to 19,260 students this year. Without the passage of the bonds to build a third high school, demographers projected that the schools’ combined enrollment would have ballooned to nearly 6,400 students by 2020.

The tax rate of 1.54 per $100 of assessed property value is expected remain unchanged under the proposal, district officials said.

“This has been an ongoing conversation in our community for about a year and a half, and from the start we said it was going to be a community decision,” said Tim Savoy, the Hays district’s public information officer. “As we move forward to manage growth, we want to keep the lines of communication open with our community.”

Savoy said he expects construction for the new high school to begin this summer with an anticipated 2019 opening.

RELATED: Hays district seeks $250 million bond for new campuses, upgrades

The San Marcos school district was seeking approval of a $107.3 million bond package for a new elementary school, classroom additions to Miller Middle School and San Marcos High School, and renovations at all elementaries, among other things.

The passage of the bond package will give room for the 8,098-student district to grow, as enrollment is projected to rise to more than 10,000 students in the next decade.

Nine of the 11 campuses in the district are overcrowded, and projections show the last two will be so in four years. The bond passage is not expected to raise the district’s property tax rate of $1.41 per $100 of assessed property value.

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