Gonzales ISD voters narrowly approved one of two bond propositions on the Tuesday, Nov. 7, while soundly rejecting a second that would have built new athletic facilities for the school district in complete but unofficial returns.
Voters approved Proposition A by a 1,203-1,181 vote — a winning margin of just 22 votes. The $50.6 million measure includes renovations and upgrades, especially for safety and security as well as infrastructure improvements, at all five school campuses, the administration building, maintenance and transportation and the construction of a new CTE building and Ag barn on land the district owns on Stieren Road.
However, by a 1,475-915 margin, district voters said no to Proposition B, which would call for issuing $44.48 million to fund a new athletic complex featuring a 7,000-seat lighted artificial turf football and soccer stadium as well as new facilities for tennis, baseball, softball and track and field, concessions and ADA-compliant bleachers, partial locker rooms, restrooms, parking and scoreboards, all to be built on the land off Stieren Road as well.
“We greatly appreciate the tremendous effort our Board of Trustees, community, staff members, administrators, and students put into this bond election and thank each and every voter who took the time to let their voice be heard,” the district said in a Facebook post announcing the passage of Proposition A.
The results are unofficial until they are canvassed by the Board of Trustees. That must happen no earlier than the third day after the election and no later than the 11th day after the polls closed.
GISD officials had tried to woo voters to their side by touting that the annual tax impact on a homeowner with an assessed value of $175,000 would be $114.50 per year, or about $9.50 extra per month, based upon an understanding that a proposed constitutional amendment raising the state’s homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000 also would be approved by voters on the Nov. 7 ballot.
That measure appeared headed towards passage with 83.8 percent of state voters supporting the proposed amendment.
According to district officials, under Proposition A, a new 26,000 square foot facility would be built at what is a potential future new high school site on property the district owns on County Road 239, also known as Stieren Road. The facility would house the district’s welding, auto technology and culinary classrooms. An adjacent Ag barn would include 10 covered pens and 10 exterior pens to allow FFA students living in the community who don’t have their own facilities to house projects at the school site.
Currently, 95 percent of enrolled high school students are taking at least one CTE class, while 75 percent are enrolled in two or more.
Renovations at all six campuses, including the administration building, also would be included in Prop A, especially at the high school, which was built in the 1960s, and at Gonzales Junior High. The average age of buildings in the district is about 40 years old, according to administrators.
Some of the biggest areas of need include the old gymnasium at the high school, which lacks ADA accessibility for those in wheelchairs, as well as the tar and rock high school roof, which was last addressed in 1994 — 29 years ago.
Prop A would also be used to renovate a portion of the old East Avenue campus (now currently the administration facility) to create a district alternative education campus so the district no longer has to pay to bus students who misbehave to Nixon-Smiley CISD.
Passage of the total bond package would have increased the proposed 2023 tax rate by 15.27 cents in 2024 using current property values.