The Spring ISD 2022 Bond Steering Committee held its sixth and final meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at the district’s Community Engagement Center, where the group concluded its discussion and finalized its deliberations for Spring ISD’s proposed 2022 bond measure.
“I feel like we know each other now at a very deep level,” Spring ISD Superintendent Dr. Lupita Hinojosa told committee members at the beginning of the meeting. “We appreciate all of your feedback, and your transparency. … We want this to be a very transparent and very collaborative process. Because at the end of the day, what this committee decides, it’s our decision as a group, as a steering committee, for our community, for the 33,500 children that we serve.”
At the conclusion of its final meeting, the committee voted for a bond option that would see the replacement of Spring High School, the district’s oldest high school campus, along with funds to support renovations or redesign work at Westfield High School, Reynolds Elementary and Jenkins Elementary. The package would also provide funds for the construction of a districtwide multipurpose education and performing arts center, and prioritizes a range of safety and security projects throughout the district, along with funds for districtwide priority maintenance and technology needs.
The 50-member committee – made up of community members, parents, current and former students, teachers and administrators, along with local business leaders and members of the district’s ministerial alliance – first came together in late June, holding meetings at the Spring ISD Community Engagement Center, Spring High School, and the Dekaney High School Ninth-Grade Center. District leaders presented the group with information drawn from both internal and external needs assessments related to district schools and facilities, safety and security, transportation, technology and infrastructure, and the group discussed a wide range of potential bond projects to address important needs around the district.
“It’s definitely a difficult process,” said district parent Sarah Welsh. With children currently in both elementary and middle school, Welsh emphasized the work the committee had done to take the needs of the entire district into account throughout the steering committee process.
“We want to make sure that this affects as many of our community members and families as possible,” Welsh said. “We want to make sure that all of our families in the entire district have what they need, in order to make this something that they would like to vote on.”
Dekaney High School senior Ashley Martinez joined the committee as a student representative, and said she felt blessed and lucky to be a part of the process.
“I think it’s really amazing, all of us coming together, including me as a student,” Martinez said. “I want us students to feel that we’re heard and that we have a voice in this as well.”
As a member of the Dekaney student council, Martinez said the experience with the bond process had inspired her to stay involved in supporting the community after she graduates.
That theme of coming together as a wider community – to sort through all the information and make hard choices about the proposed bond – was echoed by others, including Spring ISD Board of Trustees President Justine Durant, who in her 16 years on the board has been through the bond process several times, most recently for the bond that voters passed in 2016.
“It is fulfilling to be able to come together – with our village and our community – to make the tough decisions,” Durant said, “to be able separate what we might individually want, for our own child or our own personal community, and to come together and make decisions more broadly for all kids, equitably, and being fiscally responsible. It’s not easy.”
As the parent of Spring ISD graduates, Debbie Townsend has been a volunteer in the district for nearly four decades. Townsend also served on the steering committee for the 2016 bond, and said the process this time around had offered committee members a balanced look at both short-term and long-term needs in Spring ISD.
“There’s just so many things we need in the district,” Townsend said. “We’re trying to figure out how much money we need to spend, and where we need to spend it.”
Spring High School Principal Pablo Resendiz said he was glad to welcome the group to his campus to view the facilities there, although, like other committee members, he said the group’s goal was to maintain its focus on equity, and on ensuring that the final bond proposal would serve the needs of students across Spring ISD.
“Ultimately it’s about the kids,” Resendiz said. “We know we need upgrades in facilities, we know we need new technology, we know safety and security is a high priority, and so it’s important to get the voice of all stakeholders in the district, to make sure that we have a bond package that represents the wants of the district and the needs of the district, so that our kids can benefit.”
After the committee presents its report to the Board of Trustees, the board will then make the final decision whether to proceed with the bond measure this fall, as well as determining which of the recommended items will be included on the ballot in November.