MISD asking voters for $29.855 million

By Phil Major
Posted 5/5/22

Mineola ISD voters head to the polls Saturday to determine the fate of a $29.855 million bond issue that will build a new primary campus and convert the elementary school into a high school career and technical education center – and other improvements.

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MISD asking voters for $29.855 million


Mineola ISD voters head to the polls Saturday to determine the fate of a $29.855 million bond issue that will build a new primary campus and convert the elementary school into a high school career and technical education center – and other improvements.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 7. Mineola voting locations are Mineola City Hall and the First United Methodist Church Ministry Center.

Early voting concluded Tuesday. 

The primary school would be built on district land off NE Loop 564, just west of FM 1254.

Its cost is estimated at $19.5 million. The campus would house students from Head Start through the third grade and would be the first project undertaken.

Once completed – 12 to 18 months after the start of construction – students at the current primary on W. Loop 564 would move in, along with the third graders from the elementary campus (depending upon timing).

Once minor retrofitting at the primary is completed to accommodate older students (primarily restrooms), the 4th and 5th graders from elementary would transition there, leaving the elementary vacant to be repurposed as a CTE center at just over $4 million.

In addition, older vocational facilities behind the high school would receive $1 million worth of renovations, and a new auto mechanics shop would be constructed at $1.2 million.

Canopies at the high school would receive $250,000 worth of upgrades.

The remaining bond costs include $1.2 million for contingencies and $2.5 million for professional services such as architect and engineering fees.

Impact of the bond would be 24 cents on the district’s property tax rate.

Mineola ISD has had no debt service for many years, while the maintenance and operations tax was reduced to 96 cents last year. Approval of the bond would raise the tax rate to $1.20 per $100 valuation, although changes in state legislation and rising property values (see related story) could help lower that.

The district previously attempted to pass a bond issue twice during 2017, with the primary piece a new high school, but it did not pass either time.

Superintendent Cody Mize said that failure was used to help gauge what level of bond that district voters might approve.

The facility planning committee set a target to offer a package under $30 million.

“We tried to balance the needs of the district and respect for our taxpayers,” Mize said.

The facility planning committee looked at demographic data that projected district growth at low, medium and high levels.

The facility report prepared by Perry Thompson Architects evaluated the conditions of facilities throughout the district.

Mineola has not had a major construction project since 1986 when the middle and primary schools were built. The main high school and elementary campuses were built in 1968.

District financial advisors prepared information on the impact of various sizes of bond issues, which helped lead to the under-$30 million figure and the 24-cent tax increase.

Of note, voters throughout the state will also decide whether to increase the homestead exemption for school taxes from $25,000 to $40,000 – a savings in Mineola ISD of $180 per $100,000 of home value should the bond pass.

Homeowners over age 65 whose taxes have been frozen will see no impact on their school property tax bill if the bond is approved.

Mize noted that passage of the bond issue would allow room for growth at all campuses.

The new primary would accommodate students for several years, while the students vacating the current primary would leave room to grow at what would become the 4th-5th grade elementary campus as well as the adjacent middle school.

Creation of the CTE center at the high school campus would allow the current health sciences wing to be used for addition classrooms for high school, which is virtually at capacity.

The bond issue also addresses traffic challenges at every campus.

With students of primary school parents moved to the new campus for drop off and pickup, traffic congestion at the middle-primary campuses would be lessened, while the conflicting traffic between the elementary and high schools would disappear, while allowing students who park along Patten St. to be able to park on campus.

Mize encouraged district voters to turn out for the election.

He said that should the bond issue pass, the district will need to continue to be transparent throughout the construction process.

He encouraged patrons to take advantage of all the information posted on the district’s website, including the aforementioned studies, and to call with any questions or concerns.