Building for tomorrow

Coppell voting on $321.511 million bond package


Olivia Short

On Feb. 13 the Coppell ISD Board of Trustees voted to approve the proposed bond package to be a referendum on the ballot for the May 6 election. The bond package totals $321.511 million and includes renovations to athletic facilities, the addition of fine arts buildings, lifecycle replacements of technology for students and staff and improvements to campus security.

Manasa Mohan and Sri Achanta

Walking into the Coppell High School Tennis Center, Coppell senior Isabelle Beach breathes a sigh of frustration. Her eyes scanning the disarray of the room, she attempts to find a space to sling her heavy tennis bag. Pale wooden benches are cluttered with miscellaneous backpacks, water bottles and shoes as the mess creeps onto the cracked gray pavement. 

The Coppell Independent School District bond committee has heard community concerns such as Beach’s and is putting forward four propositions totaling $321.511 million in its bid to move the district’s education infrastructure to the next level. 

CISD voters will decide on May 6 to support or vote down the bond.

In 2019-20, the Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee was tasked with creating a comprehensive long-range facilities plan for all CISD buildings and facilities. The committee includes parents, students, community members and staff and would impact all CISD buildings, including those not in use, for the next three to 10 years. 

In 2021-22, the Visioning Committee provided its input for the bond committee and in the fall of 2022, the Bond Steering Committee began prioritizing capital improvements projects for the district. 

At the Jan. 23 Board Meeting, the Bond Steering Committee submitted a bond package proposal that was set to be incorporated into a future board election. On Feb. 6, the Board of Trustees held a bond workshop to discuss the committee’s bond package and on Feb. 13, the Trustees voted to approve the bond package to be a referendum on the ballot on May 6. 

The district requires funding from a new bond package as opposed to the money coming out of the operations and maintenance budget to implement these changes. Especially considering 43 percent of CISD schools are more than 30 years old and two of the elementary schools (Richard J. Lee Elementary and Canyon Ranch Elementary) are less than 10 years old. But the average age of the nine other elementary schools is 35 years. As CISD buildings age, the cost for operations and maintenance increases, meaning the five-year bond package is the most feasible to fund the changes. 

“All campuses are in the bond and all elementary schools, aside from Canyon Ranch that opened in 2019 and Lee Elementary that opened in 2014, will receive an interior refresh, classroom and office furnishing, HVAC and roof replacements and site improvements,” CISD Director of Communications Amanda Simpson said in an email. “All elementary schools will receive new playground equipment, except for Canyon Ranch Elementary. The bond impacts all students and all campuses.

But to fund these expenses, CISD will have a bond election where funding of the district’s projects will come through property taxes. As of the 2022-23 school year, CISD has had the lowest property tax rates in 30 years at $1.2173 for every $100 of the property value. The maintenance and operations tax rate currently sits at $0.9867 and the interest and sinking tax rate is $0.2306. If the bond proposal were to pass, tax rates are projected to increase $0.0744 for every $100 of the property value, making the new tax rate around $1.2917 per $100 of property value, which is still lower than the 2021-22 tax rate. 

According to the district’s  bond flier, the maximum impact on an average CISD home valued $450,000 (including Irving and beyond Coppell city limits) would expect to pay an increase of $28 per month, totaling to $335 per year. The bond flier states “if taxable property property growth exceeds projections or if interest rates are less than projected, the tax impact could be lower.”

Zillow evaluates the average Coppell home value at $589,127 which is up 4.9 percent from the previous year. CISD’s tax impact calculator estimates that for the aforementioned average valued home, the estimated monthly impact would be $36.53 and $438.81 annually. But for residents 65 and older who file for exemption with the local appraisal district, there will be no increase in school taxes on their homestead. 

Proposition A of the bond package totals $269,548,000 and includes renovations to all CISD campuses, safety and security features at all schools and buildings, labs and STEM spaces at middle schools, a new fine arts rehearsal space at CMS North and CHS and CTE and STEM labs at CHS. The proposition also plans for renovations of the auditorium at CHS9, the purchase of school buses and capital equipment as well as funding for network security and telecommunications infrastructure. (Kayla Nguyen)

Proposition A totals $269,584,000. Included in its plan are priority condition improvements at all CISD campuses, entailing new playground facilities for all CISD elementary schools except Canyon Ranch, new flooring and painting at CISD elementary schools and facilities except for Canyon Ranch Elementary and Richard J. Lee Elementary, classroom and office furnishings at schools and buildings, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems replacements based on current conditions, site improvements and roofing replacement and repairs based on roofing conditions.

Also included in Proposition A are elementary renovations and pre-K classroom additions at three elementary schools: Austin, Lakeside and Valley Ranch. Safety and security features will be added to all schools. Features will include door hardware and locks for all classrooms and exterior doors, security cameras, security camera data storage servers, electronic door access controls, cellular boosters within campuses, outdoor wireless access and a security control center.

Multipurpose labs will be created for STEM-related activities at all middle schools. Career and Technical Education and STEM labs will also be built at Coppell High School.

“We have a lot of students who are interested in STEM and doing bigger projects and the lab we have [now] was converted from a computer lab,” CHS engineering teacher Michael Yakubovsky said. “We don’t really have a lot of room to do bigger projects and some of those things fit a lot of students in and this would potentially give us the ability to do some of those other projects and areas with robotics, drones and some of the other building projects and not have everything in one small spot and everyone on top of another.”

CHS senior Tanai Prathapam, who is also the school’s Technology Student Association vice president,  thinks the added space will encourage students to participate in the engineering department and further their knowledge in the devices that CHS already has available.

Proposition A of the bond package totals $269,548,000 and includes renovations to all CISD campuses, safety and security features at all schools and buildings, labs and STEM spaces at middle schools, a new fine arts rehearsal space at CMS North and CHS and CTE and STEM labs at CHS. The proposition also plans for renovations of the auditorium at CHS9, the purchase of school buses and capital equipment as well as funding for network security and telecommunications infrastructure. (Sahasra Chakilam)

“If we possibly get two or three rooms,  then we can utilize the amount of equipment we have and spread them out and have more ease of access,” Prathapam said. “It’ll make people want to learn how to use [the machines], and then therefore, they’ll be fixed and used right more often.”

In addition, a new fine arts rehearsal building will be introduced at CHS. Coppell Middle School North will also gain a new rehearsal space and CHS9 will have internal renovations of the auditorium. The proposition also allocates money for the purchase of capital equipment including fine arts instruments, uniforms, art room kilns, choir risers, acoustic shells and portable sound equipment.

The purchases of school buses and vehicles also fall under Proposition A. In addition, money will be placed for funding for further network security and telecommunications infrastructure.

“[The bond committee is] thinking about building [a rehearsal building]  because we are at capacity here and we also have to travel,” CHS head band director Kim Shuttlesworth said. “It’s life changing to the program for sure because as we grow and evolve and we’re dealing with how to get our kids from A to B in the most efficient and safe way, I think it really does solve a lot of our problems. It would allow us to start rehearsals earlier and get home earlier. It also allows us to be able to be in one place together, we just can’t do that right now.” 

Proposition B totals $39,472,000 and focuses on district technology, mainly involving upgrades and lifecycle replacements of staff and student devices, wireless access and audiovisual equipment.

I know there’s so many of us out there that this bond is really important to pass for the future of our district.

— Co-Chair Bond PAC Committed to Our Schools Trudy Baade

Proposition C is the least expensive of the propositions at $2,931,000 and covers renovations to Buddy Echols Field with replacing the artificial turf field, track surface and seat backs.

Proposition C, the least expensive of the four propositions, allocates $2,931,000 towards renovations at Buddy Echols Field with track and turf replacements and improvements of seat backs (Olivia Short)

The final proposition, Proposition D is $9,254,000 and encompasses lifecycle turf replacement in the CHS Field House and improvements to the CHS Tennis Center, with the main facet of this proposition including the addition of locker rooms to the tennis center.  The locker room is currently at one-third capacity of the current participation and growth of the tennis program. Spectator restrooms will be added along with new court lighting.

“It’s been talked about for a long time on our side just because the team has grown a lot since the building was first put there,” Coppell senior tennis player Isabelle Beach said. “The locker rooms are not the size they should be. There are a lot of things that I feel like could be better about the tennis center and I would love it if the money went to us.”

In CISD’s most recent bond package, a $249 million package in 2016, all projects were completed on budget and on time. The package focused on construction of CHS9, CMS West and Canyon Ranch Elementary as well as expansion and improvements at CMS East, CMS North and CHS. Security kiosks were implemented into all 18 schools, more than 200 cameras were installed across the district, new bathrooms and repairs were made to the nine footprint elementary schools (Austin Elementary, Cottonwood Creek Elementary, Denton Creek Elementary, Lakeside Elementary, Mockingbird Elementary, Pinkerton Elementary, Town Center Elementary, Valley Ranch Elementary and Wilson Elementary) and all students were equipped with new technology devices. 

The final proposition, proposition D, plans to devote $9,524,000 towards turf replacement at the CHS field house, improvements at the CHS tennis center and renovations to tennis locker rooms. (Kayla Nguyen)

CISD residents in Coppell, Dallas (Cypress Waters), North Irving, Lewisville and Valley Ranch will be able to cast a vote “for” or “against” the four separate propositions: one general purpose proposition and three special purpose propositions. Early voting starts April 24 and ends May 2. Election day is May 6. 

“It is very important as a Coppell community to go out and vote,” Co-Chair Bond PAC Committed to Our Schools Trudy Baade said. “Please register and vote if you’re not registered, that deadline is April 6. It is imperative if you are qualified and you can vote, please register and please come out. Honestly, as a Coppell community, myself and my co-chair [Gaby Anene], we’re the biggest cheerleaders in regards to this community and I know there’s so many of us out there that this bond is really important to pass for the future of our district.”

Follow Manasa (@Manasa_Mohan_7), Sri (@sriachanta_) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter