Hereford ISD approves urgent school repairs, ponders bond

Last Updated by Mike Smith on
Wikimedia Commons/Billy Hathorn

Hereford Independent School District trustees voted unanimously Wednesday morning to approve emergency repairs to ensure one of its elementary school campuses will be able to open for classes later this month.

Trustees approved about $50,000 in temporary structural repairs to Bluebonnet Elementary School, district records show.

This past week, an architect working with the district notified officials that a temporary fix was needed to secure the building for occupancy, Superintendent Sheri Blankenship said in a Tuesday afternoon meeting with community members.

Without the fix, the school wouldn't have been able to open for classes on Aug. 20, which would have displaced between 350 and 400 students, she said.

Possible bond

Also during Tuesday's meeting with community members that was broadcast via Facebook Live, Blankenship said administrators plan to ask Hereford ISD trustees to consider a bond election later this year.

Blankenship outlined the case for $22.4 million in safety and security improvements at district facilities – field house upgrades, lighting and restroom upgrades at district tennis and softball fields, and lighting at the baseball fields.

The proposed bond would not feature work on the physical stadium or turf, she added. More details – including how much the district tax rate would increase if voters approved the bond – are available in the video.

Blankenship said though the tax rate would increase, the proposal is an investment in Hereford’s future and attracting new residents.

"If we want people to move to our community, we have to continue to improve our schools," she said.

The school board soon may meet to consider calling an election. The meeting could happen on Aug. 14, though as of Wednesday afternoon, a meeting agenda had not yet been posted. If the board approves, the bond vote likely would be scheduled during the upcoming Nov. 6 elections. 

Bonds have historically been a tough sell in Hereford ISD. Voters have repeatedly rejected district borrow requests during the past 40 years.

The last request — a $45 million proposal for renovations, security upgrades, an activity center, and an early childhood center — failed in May 2017,  with 59 percent of voters rejecting the measure.

As bonds have failed, the district has done repairs and upgrades as it can afford, and has spent $18 million within the past 13 years on new windows, science labs, a new cafeteria, and a campus renovation. However, the list of needs continues to grow, Blankenship said Tuesday.

The district currently is renovating Tierra Blanca Elementary School.

 

 

Mike Smith is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. Contact him at mike.smith@actx.edu, on Twitter at @newsmithm and on Facebook.

Learn Here is sponsored by Education Credit Union.

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