More information regarding WOCCISD’s Bond Election

Published 11:09 pm Saturday, October 20, 2018

By Dr. Rickie R. Harris

In my last column, I shared information with you regarding West Orange –Cove’s upcoming bond election Nov. 6. To recap, a Citizens Advisory Committee met numerous times this year to review our facilities. Then, an outside agency conducted a community survey regarding possible bond projects. After reviewing results, the committee recommended a bond election and possible projects to our Board of Trustees. In August, the WOCCISD Board of Trustees called an election.

The bond election is for a total of $25.75 million with a potential .08 tax increase per $100 valuation after the state homestead exemption of $25,000 and a local 20 percent homestead exemption have been deducted from the appraised value of the home. Taxpayers age 65 and older who have filed the appropriate tax exemption will not see an increase in taxes as their taxes are frozen.

Bond projects include safety and security, infrastructure, classroom support, technology, fine art improvements, a transportation center, an events center, and improvements for our softball, baseball, and football fields.

In my previous column, I shared details regarding some of the bond projects. They include $1.9 million in district-wide technology updates; and, $2.2 million in classroom furniture updates in kindergarten through grade 12. The bond also includes $800,000 for security and safety, as well as $2.1 million for infrastructure updates.

In this column, I will share details regarding proposed fine arts improvements and two new facilities included in the bond:  a transportation center and an event center.

Fine Art improvement projects include an acoustic treatment in the main gym of West Orange-Stark Elementary School, stage improvements at West Orange-Stark Middle School, and upgrades to the choir room, band hall, and stage at West Orange-Stark High School. The bond includes $300,000 for these projects.

We, additionally, are seeking to build a new transportation center. This new facility will include bus canopies to protect our buses from the weather. A single school bus costs approximately $100,000 so it is prudent to protect these investments in order to minimize repairs and extend bus life spans. The new facility will be located at WOS High School at the far end of the football stadium’s visitor parking lot. This site is the highest (elevation) in our district and can better protect our fleet in a flood situation. The bond seeks $2.1 million for this facility.

The bond also includes $11.3 million for an event center that will also be located at the High School. This center will allow us to seat 2500. It will feature a competition gym for district-wide use. It will allow us, in the event of bad weather, to host graduation indoors in a facility that can accommodate more guests than our current venue. Other large district and campus events can also be presented at the center. This facility will be supported with additional parking provided in bond stadium improvement plans (to be addressed in the next column). The event center project also includes converting our current physical education gym at the High School to a weight room and installing flooring and lighting in the current competition gym.

These are just a few of the projects that we are seeking to address through the bond. Due to space, we cannot provide as much detail as we would like. However, I will continue to share information regarding the remaining bond projects in my next editorial.

In the meantime, our website includes not only bond FAQ’s but also responses to bond questions from our community. Additionally, we are currently presenting bond information at various organization meetings.

We believe in John Maxwell’s philosophy that “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.” Go Mustangs!


Dr. Rickie R. Harris is the Superintendent at West Orange-Cove CISD