Rural school district struggling with security pleads for voter passage of $13 million bond

Focus of the bond is making necessary state-required security upgrades to all three schools in Gonzales County

A rural community in Gonzales County, Texas, is hoping the second time’s the charm when it comes to getting voters to approve a 20-year $13 million bond to pay for school security upgrades.

WAELDER, Texas – A rural community in Gonzales County, Texas, is hoping the second time’s the charm when it comes to getting voters to approve a 20-year $13 million bond to pay for school security upgrades.

Voters denied the bond request in the spring.

Ron Lilie, superintendent for Waelder ISD, said there’s a greater focus on educating voters about the need for major renovations and security updates.

The focus of the bond is to make necessary state-required security upgrades to all three schools in the district.

Currently, there is a need to add about six more classrooms to accommodate the growing student population.

Additionally, Lilie said there is no fencing around the school nor a secure entry point for visitors.

“A lot of what we’re doing is a remodel. We’re not asking to build new grand facilities. We’re not trying to build any monuments. We’re just trying to create space so that these kids can learn,” Lilie explained.

Right now, lunch sessions have to be done in several hours to accommodate all the students inside the cafeteria, and some still decide to eat outside.

The plan is to build a new gymnasium so junior high and high school teams don’t have to share. A very old gym would be turned into a cafetorium, Lilie said.

“It’s not a wealthy district. They’re not wealthy people. But our kids are just as good as anyone else is, and they deserve that,” he said.

Lilie said the bond would cost property owners roughly $10.20 per $100,000 valuation. If approved, construction would start quickly.

Click here to see a video put together with the help of students.

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Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.