CASTROVILLE – A year after voters soundly rejected a nearly $400 million bond package, Medina Valley ISD is again asking voters to pass a bond to help the school district keep up with exploding enrollment.
The district’s school board has placed a $376 million bond on the May 6 ballot to pay for:
- New High School - $323M
- Land Purchases - $30M
- Agricultural & JROTC Facility at Medina Valley HS - $14M
- Safety & Security Enhancements - $5M
- Traffic Improvements - $4M
The bond would require a 2.8-cent increase in the school district’s tax rate, raising the annual tax bill on a house with a taxable value of $200,000 by $56.
The district lies mostly in Medina County but also includes portions of western Bexar County.
MVISD officials expect enrollment to jump from 8,493 students in the 2023-2024 school year to 15,628 in the 2032-2033 school year - an 84% increase over 10 years. They say the district will need several new schools at every level to cope with the growth.
But whereas the failed 2022 bond proposals included three new schools and a new stadium, only the proposed second high school remains in the 2023 bond.
Superintendent Scott Caloss, who started work after the 2022 bond failed, said the district’s only high school, Medina Valley High School will be the first campus to run out of room.
“We wanted to put something out there to our community that we felt like would be or most of our community would be in favor of,” he said.
The roughly 1,800 voters who cast ballots in the 2022 elections were definitely not in favor of last year’s bond package. The first bond proposition containing the new schools was voted down with 59% against it, and 69% voted against the stadium, which was separated into its own proposition.
Despite having two fewer schools and no football stadium in this year’s proposal, its price tag is only $21 million less than the 2022 package.
High schools are more expensive than other schools , Caloss said, and construction costs have increased. The district has tried to keep inflation costs in mind in its proposal, he said.
The new high school would still have a “physical education facility” that could seat up to 990 spectators, according to the district’s bond website. The facility would be able to support sports except varsity football, which draws larger crowds.
The bond proposal also includes $30 million to buy land for future campuses. More bond proposals are expected to follow this one, though Caloss said the district will hit a state-imposed cap on the portion of its tax rate that covers debt payments.
“We know that we’re going to have to come back with something in the near future. The positive is, like I just said, the tax rate, it’s maxed out. So whatever we do moving forward is not going to impact our tax rate,” Caloss said.
The district says to meet growing enrollment, it will need a new elementary school every two to three years to meet growing enrollment, a new middle school every six years, and a new high school every 10 years.
Some are skeptical of the district’s plans.
Hank Seay, who said he was running as a write-in candidate for an at-large school board position, was out Wednesday putting out “Vote No” signs near a Castroville polling location.
“You’re telling everybody this is a $376 million budget here, but then you’re going to turn around and come back next May and ask for another $400 million,” Seay said.
Others like Jessica Reza are ready to vote in favor.
“It’s growing out here, and I think the capacity just in all the schools are gonna eventually fill up,” Reza said.
If voters do approve the bond, Caloss said work could begin construction on the new high school this fall and have students in it by the fall of 2026.