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PN-G school configuration would change with bond

GROVES — A facility committee’s recommendation to demolish six elementary schools in Port Neches-Groves Independent School District and rebuild four could come with a cost of $130 million.

“It’s about getting kids and teachers in efficient and safe buildings,” PN-GISD Superintendent Rodney Cavness said via phone call Tuesday.

The committee’s recommendation calls for two new prekindergarten through fifth grade campuses each in Groves and Port Neches. The district currently has six elementary schools divided in the Port Neches and Groves communities. West Groves Early Learning Center houses Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities and pre-kindergarten; Ridgewood, Taft, Van Buren and Woodcrest house kindergarten through third grades and Groves and Port Neches elementary schools house fourth and fifth grades.

“The committee is insistent we keep Taft, Van Buren, Woodcrest and Ridgewood names and we are trying to keep the new schools as close to where they are as possible but that may not be totally possible,” he said.

Ridgewood Elementary, located at 2820 Merriman St. in Port Neches, has enough space to build a new school. Taft Elementary, located at 2500 Taft Ave., in Port Arthur but within PN-GISD, will likely be moved to a different location further away from local heavy industry.

“There is a lot to consider and it’s in the preliminary phases right now. This is something a bond committee will discuss,” he said.

A facility committee featuring various segments of the community met for the past eight months where they reviewed a 2014 document put forth by Templeton Demographics, a 2014 facility study performed by Gallagher Construction Services, tax rate analysis by U.S. Capital Advisors and tours of the campuses.

If the board decides to go forward with a bond then a new committee will be formed. Cavness assumes some will be nominated for the bond committee and hopes there will be some who want to volunteer.

“What we will want from a bond committee is a good representation of our community encompassing all aspects of the community,” he said. “I’d like to see more participation from industry then we had on the facility committee.”

Information presented during Monday night’s board meeting showed industry pays 68 percent of property taxes with residential taking up 32 percent.

The cost of a proposed $130 million bond would be minimal, according to a PowerPoint presentation. A home valued at $100,000 would see an annual increase of $50.20; a $200,000 home would see an annual increase of $123,21 and a $300,000 home would see $196.22 additional in taxes.

Trustees approved hiring Templeton Demographics to perform an updated demographic study in preparation for bond talks. The cost for the services is somewhere between $15,000 -$20,000.

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