Brenham ISD hoping second time’s a charm for bonds when voters head to the polls

Voters rejected a $153 million dollar bond proposal in May but the district is hoping for a different outcome during the midterm elections.
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 7:46 PM CDT
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BRENHAM, Texas (KBTX) -The Brenham Independent School District in Washington County is trying to get voters to pass two bonds totaling $126 million again.

Voters rejected a $153 million dollar bond proposal in May, but the district is posting the bond on the ballot again with a few revisions. Instead of one proposition there will be two propositions for voters to choose one, both, or neither.

If approved, Proposition A would provide funding to build a new junior high school to replace the current facility that was built back in the 60′s and would come at a price tag of $111 million.

Brooke Trahan, Brenham ISD Communications Coordinator says leaks, mold, asbestos, and electrical issues have become common at Brenham Junior High School.

“Our current junior high is almost 60 years old and was built to also serve as a bomb shelter and so because of that were having issues with water levels rising and issues with the plumbing underneath the ground,” said Trahan.

Proposition B comes in at a lower price tag of $25 million and would fund improvements to Career and Technical Education {CTE} facilities and add new career programs that would prepare students for in-demand jobs and trades like plumbing, electrical, cosmetology, and more.

“By expanding that not only can we move some of those courses outside of the high school into that new facility to help with the growth we can also provide the equipment and resources those students need so that they can graduate high school with those trades,” said Trahan.

Brenham ISD Bond Fact sheet
Brenham ISD Bond Fact sheet(KBTX)

Calvin Kossie is a long-time Brenham resident and worked in the district for more than three decades. He says the bond proposals are worth the cost and are long overdue.

“I know they may be thinking about the tax but think about the students and how this will impact not only Washington County but Texas and beyond,” said Kossie. “Our students need to be prepared. There is employment that’s out there and most of it’s engaged in technological skills, there are other skills that they could be learning in the school system before they go out to the technical schools and or the colleges.”

But other community members like long-time Brenham resident Bruce Brinkmann say they agree the school needs better facilities but now is not the best time to spend millions of dollars.

“The junior high campus is 58 years old, I graduated from there when it was a high school in 74,” said Brinkmann. “Basically, it needs to be replaced but right now with the economy 8.2 percent inflation, our gasoline prices, food prices, and everything that’s going up, taxes, housing. People in Brenham just don’t make that much money.”

According to data released by the school district taxpayers that have a home valued at $200,000 could see an estimated increase of $240 annually or $20 a month for Proposition A. The investment in Proposition B is lower for a home valued at $200,000 and would cost taxpayers an estimated $57.60 annually or $4.80 a month. Brenham ISD also says conservatively, financial advisors anticipate the tax rate to increase by $18.6. The district also says that homeowners above the age of 65 should not be impacted by the bond.

Video of Brenham ISD Superintendent, Dr. Tylor Chaplin, giving the November ‘22 Bond Presentation to a local community group followed by a public Q&A is below.

More information on the bond propositions can be found here.