SWEETWATER, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A nearly $50 million bond will be seen on the May 6 ballot for Sweetwater ISD, a district that has not received a bond in over a decade. This bond will go towards district improvements, but since taxes will be raised if it is approved, some business owners are showing support, while others share mixed emotions. 

One business owner, Lyndi Cherry, said she has faced some challenges due to the economy. 

“Retailers are one of the first ones to see inflation,” Cherry said. 

Cherry explained that raising taxes in the area would be difficult as a business owner, but even if the bond election for $49,500,000 is passed, Cherry said she is for it because it’s an investment into the community.

“I know it’s a big amount, but this is kind of where we’re at and what we need to do,” Cherry explained. 

In fact, the head of the bond planning committee Jay Lawrence said if this does not pass, the next bond will go toward improvements only because of the current condition of the facilities, including the condemned gym benches. 

“We already have a lot of deferred maintenance that needs to have already been done and that will only increase,” Lawrence explained. 

He said the last bond election was in 2016 and it did not pass, so their education is in dire need of improvements. 

“Education needs to be a top priority in an area where people want to live,” Lawrence expressed. 

The bond totals $49,500,000 and is broken up into two different areas that need updates or new facilities. 

$42,000,000 will go towards a new high school CTE and gym complex. This includes the following: 

  • Demolish buildings along Crane Street 
  • Old gym, Ag buildings, The HUB / Technology offices 
  • New $60,000 SF facility 
  • Crane Street Gym and locker rooms 
  • CTE labs 
  • Relocate tennis courts 
  • New band practice and parking lot 
  • Technology offices 
  • Collaboration space 

$7,500,000 will go towards district-wide improvements, which include the following: 

  • Repair or replace roofs at all campuses 
  • Safety and Security 
  • Secured vestibule at the high school 
  • Repair or replace finishes 
  • Prioritize maintenance 

Sweetwater realtor, Dustanna Spencer, said Sweetwater has some of the lower taxes in the area already. 

“When you look at the numbers for say, every $100,000 value of the house, it’s only going to go up I believe $120 a year on average,” Spencer explained. “You can’t compare that cost yearly. Those are things we are going to offer those homeowner’s children, and not only that, it’s going to encourage people to move here.” 

Spencer shared that this will still keep them at a low tax rate level. 

Two local businesses that KTAB/KRBC spoke to that do not have children in Sweetwater ISD were against this bond, saying taxes being raised in this economy would be hard on their businesses. They asked to remain anonymous but asked where the money went that was supposed to go towards improvements to the school in the first place. This is something the new superintendent Dr. Deidre Parish has asked as well.

“Why have they been overlooked in the past? I cannot answer that, but I know moving forward that we are going to address the needs and make sure our facilities or taken care of and that our students have a secure and safe environment to learn,” Parish explained.

Dr. Paris promised to take care of the facilities if this is passed and according to the school bond website, the tax rate will increase by 18 cents. Visit BOND PROPOSAL — Sweetwater ISD Bond for more information about this bond.