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PNGISD bond info meeting on Monday

PORT NECHES — The first of two informational community meetings to discuss a bond election to build four new elementary schools in Port Neches-Groves Independent School District will be held at 6 p.m. Monday at West Groves Education Center, 5840 West Jefferson, Groves.

A second bond informational community meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 14, also at West Groves Education Center.

The board of trustees approved calling for a $130 million bond election to be held Nov. 5 to build four new elementary schools. The district currently has seven schools providing prekindergarten to fifth grade education.

Julie Gauthier, assistant superintendent at PNGISD, said district officials, board members and community advisory committee members would be on hand to provide an overview an answer any questions.

Some background on the issue

Back in 2015, members of a facility committee were tasked with assessing the district’s elementary schools. They had figures from a demographic study and facility study, tax rate analysis and tours of the facilities.

What they saw at that time was aging schools; the oldest built in 1948 and the youngest in 1965. The schools had security issues as well as failing infrastructure such as leaky roofs, old heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, mostly original plumbing and electrical problems.

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 bond plans

The bond proposal calls for there to be two elementary schools each in Groves and Port Neches. One would house PK-2 grades and the other would house 3-5 grades.

In Port Neches, Ridgewood and Woodcrest sites would be used and in Groves, the West Groves and Groves Elementary campuses would be used. Taft school would be sold as-is while Port Neches Elementary and Van Buren Elementary, which are co-located with Port Neches Middle School and Groves Middle School, will be demolished and replaced with a grass area, according to information from the district.

PNGISD Board President Scott Bartlett, who served on the facilities committee in 2015 before he was elected trustee, is familiar with the topic.

He said the committee was made-up of educators, administrators, community members and business owners, giving input on what they felt was the best for the community and elementary school aged children.

He encourages community members with questions about the structure of the bond or how the schools will be built to attend a meeting.

For more information about the bond, call 409-722-4244 extension 1725 or access the bond frequently asked questions at pngisd.org.