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Voters pass San Benito schools’ $40 million bond issue

November 7, 2018

SAN BENITO — The voters have spoken. San Benito CISD’s $40 million bond issue has been approved.

One of those who supported the issue was Joe Perez, who recently moved to San Benito from Corpus Christi.

“As long as the kids get something out of it, I’m voting yes for the bond issue,” Perez said.

Monica Salazar, a mother of two, said she went to vote specifically for the bond issue.

“I think all three of the projects are pretty great ideas,” Salazar said. “I really love the performing arts center the best because it will give students a place to perform artistic activities they like to do.”

According to district officials, there will not be a tax increase and the rate will remain at $1.3049 per $100 valuation because the district paid off one bond issue this year.

According to San Benito CISD Bond Financial Advisor Dustin Traylor, the district issued bonds in 1998 and the payoff date for those occurs this year. He explained that is part of the reason the district is able to issue $40 million in bonds without incurring an increase in the tax rate.

This new bond issue would replace that bond issue.

However, not everyone was in favor of the bond.

“I’m concerned about the San Benito school district,” said Leslie Gomez whose children recently graduated from the district. “I have friends that are teachers and substitute teachers and there’s a concern about whether the community really does need this bond and we’d prefer that they provide better education for the students rather than proposing the bond. So, I don’t see that there’s a need for this for the community and would personally vote against it.”

Lucinda Lopez graduated from the San Benito school district in 2006 and said she would have been in favor of the bonds if it didn’t include the multi-purpose facility.

“The performing arts center and the pool would have been great when I was going to school, but I think sports is already overfunded,” Lopez said. “All three projects are included in the bond so I’m not in favor of the bond because I think the money could go toward something better.”

The performing arts center is estimated to cost approximately $30 million to $31 million and is the highest estimated expenditure out of the three projects.

District officials believe the center would create opportunities for San Benito schools and the community at large to come in and use the facilities and provide a space for artistic performances, such as orchestra, classical guitar, theater and flamenco.

The aquatics center is estimated to cost $5 million to $5.5 million and the multi-purpose sports facility is estimated to cost $3.5 million to $4 million.

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