BLACKWELL, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – During the November 8 election, voters approved bonds for Blackwell CISD, funding four different projects in the district. One of these will create housing for teachers, as the nation continues to face a teacher shortage crisis.
“The bond is broken down into four propositions, as it was required by law,” explained Superintendent Bryan Shipman.
These bonds are a part of a nearly $15 million package, where $9.1 million goes towards school improvements, $2.7 million goes towards athletic improvements, $2.5 million goes towards teacher housing, and $600,000 goes toward technology updates.
Supt. Shipman explained that while the school housing proposition may have seemed ‘the most unusual,’ he said it will allow more teachers to feel valued, while also drawing in new teachers for the school.
“Previously, we would have multiple applications for teacher openings. This past year, like most in the state, that did not happen,” said Supt. Shipman.
The school needs certified and qualified teachers to be able to travel to this rural town and have a place to live. These bonds will ultimately affect some taxpayers. However, the people KTAB/KRBC spoke with in Blackwell said they didn’t mind.
“We’re all about it,” said one business owner, Shirley Lemley.
Lemley owns Blue Agave Cattle Company, and she said a little bit more in taxes is going to bring more people into the city, and therefore, to her business.
“We’re still getting the benefit of the concession stands or the ticket sales, or people just coming through eating here,” explained Lemley.
Another business owner, Shawn Kelly, owner of Blackwell BBQ, said he was also all for the bonds.
“Nobody likes to see taxes go up unless it’s for a good reason,” Kelly said. “And this is a good reason to help our school, our community and children.”
Supt. Shipman mentioned that even though some may be slightly affected by taxes, “If you’re wanting to offer your children the best opportunity you can, I don’t know how you put a price on that.”
While the improvements will be a long process, Supt. Shipman said the changes can be seen within the next couple of months – including a school bus upgrade.
According to the school, 90% of the approved bond will actually be paid by wind and solar farms.
Blackwell CISD’s website shows the estimated tax impact would be just shy of a $2.00 increase per month for a home valued at $64,076 – which is currently the average cost of a home in Blackwell.