Superintendent Message (April 25, 2016)

Bond 2010 nearing a close

April 25, 2016

Dear SAISD Staff,

I’ve talked a lot this year about academic and leadership changes in motion throughout our District and the progress we are making in those areas. Today, I want to highlight the physical transformation underway because the quality of our facilities plays a critical role in our efforts to ensure our students’ success. We can change what educators do in classrooms, but we also have to change what our classrooms do for educators – they must be designed and equipped for 21st-century instruction.

So, I am pleased to share that more of our classrooms and campuses are meeting this standard as we near the end of SAISD Bond 2010, the $515 million bond program that voters overwhelmingly approved to fund safety and security upgrades; new technology; major renovations at 22 campuses, including new state-of-the-art learning spaces for career and technical education students; covered playgrounds for elementary schools and athletic tracks for high schools; renovations at Alamo Stadium and the Alamo Convocation Center and transportation efficiencies.

Tomorrow, we are hosting an event to pay tribute to the community members on the Citizen’s Oversight Committee, which was created to monitor progress of what has been a complex bond program with more than 300 individual projects! Those projects required some 200 architects, engineers, contractors and sub-contractors working across dozens of campuses.

I applaud the financial stewardship and the debt management strategy of the SAISD Bond 2010 program. The overall bond program is on track to come in just under budget and is being financed by a property tax rate that has been consistently lower than what was originally projected.

I also want to express gratitude to you employees who have stuck with us through construction at your campuses. Even though I wasn’t here for most of the bond work, I can imagine the challenges you encountered in trying to work around all of the construction and how frustrating it may have been at times to have to pack up and move classrooms to make way for work. Thank you for your patience and continued commitment to our students. In the end, it has meant better facilities for the greater school community and classrooms and campuses that our staff and students can be proud of. Most importantly, it has meant classrooms that facilitate the kind of learning our students need to be successful in college and career.

Work will wrap up this summer at the few remaining campuses, except for Highlands High School, which will be completed in 2017. We intentionally extended the completion date, opting instead for two phases, to minimize disruption to staff and students. Some of the new construction already is in use by students, including a new building with much more spacious classrooms, and a new cafeteria that is a significant improvement over its predecessor. We look forward to, down the road, unveiling the final product to the community.

This work is just the beginning. Our District has entered a new epoch, one where transformation is being pursued with a sense of urgency because we owe it to our students to give them the very best, the soonest that we can. Much was accomplished through Bond 2010, but there still is much left to be done in modernizing our schools so that, across the board, SAISD students are walking into the best learning environments and greeted with the best technology every single day.