GISD hosts bond project workshop with Region 13 rep


The Gonzales ISD school board met Monday, Dec. 4 for a special called workshop meeting at the administration building.

The board discussed the approved Proposition A bond for the new CTE Building and upgrades to the campuses and security.

GISD Superintendent Dr. Elmer Avellaneda explained in the last meeting that it was first time he felt overwhelmed regarding the bond.

That includes the next steps after the bond election from construction, renovations and how much money the district had, he added.

“The success of the construction and the success of the $30 million in renovations are directly tied to us as a board, and as the superintendent, so we have to make sure we're doing this the right way,” Avellaneda said.

Avellaneda called the board together for this workshop because it is great time to discuss and ask questions about the bond, he said.

Casey Sledge, of Region 13 Education Service Center, was invited to speak to the board about the next steps regarding the bond; the board asked him multiple questions about when construction will start.

“I know we're anxious, people are probably going ‘Where's all the tractors and our results stuff going on?’ ‘We passed this election so many days ago, why aren’t we building it?’ We get that all the time. And I do think there's some lower hanging projects in front of us that you can attack, I fully expect us to do some construction this summer,” Sledge said.

Sledge added they want to go as fast they can, but things are not getting cheaper and they don’t want to waste time.

“We don't want to waste time, but we're going to advise you not to go so fast. We trip, stumble or fall or make inefficient decisions, or poor decisions and that's a balance. You'll see us sprinting and slow and aspirating and slowing down and we'll do that a lot.”

The district sent out requests for qualification for professional architectural and engineering services for the November 2023 bond construction program.

Sledge said the district received 14 responses and the bond committee spoke to 10 companies.

The board will vote in the Monday, Dec. 11 meeting on which company they’ll go with for the bond project.

One of the big questions brought up to Sledge was transparency regarding the timeline of the projects.

“We're very used to some of your taxpayers or your public, or city or whoever it is, being very concerned with the money you're spending — any amount of money, much less this much money, right. And so I think we’ve found most schools are transparent. I think you're already transparent,” Sledge said.

Sledge suggested doing a monthly update on the bond status during the board meetings.

“We'll do a public town hall open meeting. And that's not a board meeting. So we don't have to have a quorum that we’ll host, like I'll be at the meeting, we’ll let them walk in this room or whatever room, we’ll have maps on the wall, project stuff, schedules, budgets laid out, walk in and ask. And we'll do that every month, the whole time, if you like, or however often we need to do,” Sledge said.

The board will meet for their regularly scheduled meeting Monday, Dec. 11.