In sharing bond facts for Saturday’s $208 million election, school officials included information regarding the 2009 bond program. In May 2009, voters approved three propositions totaling $138 million.
There is a link on CarrollBudget.com that provides a copy of the 2009 proposed projects by proposition, as well as pictures of some of the completed projects. There have been additional questions, however, about project estimates and what Carroll ISD does with the money if a project comes in under budget.
Carroll ISD can account for every penny spent in the 2009 bond projects. Projects were awarded and approved during public meetings of the CISD School Board and completed within a five-year period following the public vote. Minutes of Board decisions are available on the CISD website. With the exception of a couple of projects that were put on hold, CISD completed all of the 2009 bond projects within the budgets allotted for each proposition, and was even able to complete several additional prioritized projects allotted for each proposition.
CISD did not spend more than voters approved in each proposition in 2009. By law, voters agree to the total amount of each proposition, not individual project estimates within a proposition. The dollars spent on projects in that proposition may not exceed voter approval. The 2017 election involves a single proposition for $208 million.
The chart below includes the initial project estimates and final expenditures for the 2009 bond program. The chart shows that some projects came in under budget and others involved additional costs or scope once the design and bidding process happened.
2009 Carroll ISD Bond Program
Citizen’s Committee Recommends Project Lists
As background, members of a citizen’s Long Range Facility Planning Committee or LRFPC worked with the Administration to put together a project list for the 2009 CISD Bond Election. That original project list was valued at approximately $185 million. The district prioritized that list and narrowed down the proposal to $138 million, which voters approved in May of 2009.
That election was broken into three different propositions, all of which passed. When voters approve individual propositions, money for each proposition must be spent on projects within that proposition, but all project pricing involves estimates only and estimates are done during the pre-planning period. Once the 2009 election passed, CISD went through the design and bidding process.
Citizen’s Bond Advisory Committee Oversees Projects
Throughout the course of the 2009 bond, there was a Bond Advisory Committee made up of citizens who met regularly to review plans, discuss projects and help oversee the process to ensure CISD completed projects. During the design, bidding and actual construction phase, there are often scope changes and additional needs/projects identified. Regular reports and public votes on projects were conducted during CISD School Board meetings.
The district was able to complete the items that were identified on the $138 million project list with some adjustments made by the district. The bidding market ended up being better than was estimated due to the overall economy. In fact, because of the recession, the district was able to spread the dollars forward and capture some of the projects out of the $185 million project list. The district did not spend more than was approved by voters.
Walnut Grove Elementary Project Completed Under Budget
The district utilized a Competitive Sealed Proposal (CSP) procurement process on the elementary project, which benefited the district’s bid price by approximately 15-20%. The contractor for WGES underbid the project by $500,000 in the district’s favor, and the contractor stood by the bid. The district benefited from a great bidding market on this project because of the poor national economy. All of the items added up to a great savings to the taxpayers and the district on this project, which freed up a significant amount of approved bond dollars for projects that came in over original estimates.
Carroll Middle School Project Comes In Under Budget
The Carroll Middle School construction project ultimately included one of the largest solar arrays on top of a public school building in Texas. The district received a $2 million grant from the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO), as well as more than $709,000 in rebates from Oncor. This project decision to include the solar array and energy rebate helps save about 70 percent of the monthly utility costs at CMS, helping with the district’s maintenance and operations budget deficit. Ultimately the CMS project came in $2.6 million under budget, freeing up funds within that proposition for other identified projects.
Projects Accomplished With Remaining Funds
As a result of the savings at WGES and CMS, the district was able to utilize the remaining funds to help pay for higher project expenditures/scope at Carroll Elementary and Johnson Elementary School. The Board also voted upon recommendation of the Bond Advisory Committee to construct science labs at Carroll Sr. High School, water wells at school campuses and a cross country running surface. As further examples of projects that came up during the five-year period, the Board also voted to buy band instruments, lease portable classrooms, address safety projects, and purchase buses as needed.
Johnson and Carroll Elementary Schools
These two campuses are two of the oldest facilities in Carroll ISD. After the 2009 bond issue passed, the district hired consultants to begin the process of discovery and design for these projects. During this time many existing conditions were uncovered that were not previously known. Examples of this at Johnson Elementary School included the fact that there was no moisture barrier on the exterior walls. This had caused some conditions that required portions of the existing building to be taken down and rebuilt.
At Carroll Elementary School, as the engineers researched this campus there was substantial structural issues that were discovered that required action as well. Both of these projects came in well over original estimates, but the savings on the Walnut Grove project made it possible to effectively complete the JES and CES projects within the overall proposition one total.
Again funds were spent at JES and CES that exceeded original estimates, but the district had funds available from the WGES project to accommodate the scope and project modifications and remained within the budget for Proposition 1 funds.
Old Union Elementary School
In the bond issue the district had determined from the demographic information that they needed to build a classroom addition on this campus. When it came time to execute this project, the district after looking at the newest demographic information determined this addition was not needed at that time and took action to cancel this item in a public Board meeting. The funds originally earmarked for this project were used to help construct the science labs at Carroll Sr. High after citizens brought this need forward to Trustees. The project was added to the scope of the 2009 Bond program and was voted on during public meetings of the CISD Trustees. Minutes reflect these changes and additions.
Carroll High and Senior High Schools
These campuses are an example of where the district went back to the original LRFPC $185 million project list and put some projects back into the list such as the Science Labs at the Senior High. This was an item that was agreed to have as a priority in the requirements of educating the students.
School Board Minutes & Links
Since 2013, CISD has been posting our videos of our School Board meetings online. You may also visit our public web link to search for any minutes you need to see.
Web Page w/ Searchable School Board Minutes – https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicHome.aspx?ak=220919
Web page w/ Board Meeting Videos – http://www.southlakecarroll.edu/domain/83